The next step in flying: Planes without pilots

Technology

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Reliable Robots and Xwing are two Bay Area start-ups working on planes that can fly themselves — no pilot required. Rather than building new aircraft, both companies have retrofitted Cessna Grand Caravans. The planes can fly autonomously while a remote operator monitors the flight, taking control if needed.

Both companies said they are working with major logistics companies to deliver cargo as a first use case once FAA approval happens.

Xwing took CNBC up for a test flight where the pilot didn’t touch the controls once. Watch the video to see how the technology works and learn when self-flying planes could become the norm.

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