A surprising new development at low cost airline EasyJet has made me wonder about something I want to explore here on the Htet Tayza blog today. Are there some jobs that we shouldn’t leave to technology?
Societal advancement is never allowed to go unchallenged. There’s always pushback from people who believe that change and innovation are going to lead to the end of days, the apocalypse or another catastrophe that’s simply too horrible to speak about.
Think I’m joking? Remember the thing about mobile phones and cancer? Despite the fact that there aren’t any good explanations for how a mobile phone could cause cancer, that rumour has been surprisingly persistent.
EasyJet to use drones
However every once in a while you do wonder whether the nay sayers actually have a point. I found myself thinking this recently when I read on the Mail Online that European low cost airline EasyJet are planning to use drones for safety inspections starting from 2016. The company recently trialled the technology at an aircraft hangar in Luton, near London in the UK.
It uses high resolution cameras to transmit pictures of an aircraft to engineers on the ground. The firm claims that drones will help them reduce the amount of time their aircraft’s are out of service when they’re being inspected. EasyJet have also announced recently that they will start trialling the use of 3D printing to create vital pieces of equipment such as fan blades and fuel nozzles.
“This technology will allow us to do it quicker.”
EastJet head of engineering Ian Davies spoke out on the planned use of drones. Davies said: “Safety is our number one priority and so all of these new technologies will be applied by our experienced engineering and flight crew to ensure our leading safety record is maintained.
“We do suffer delays and cancellation because of lightning strikes currently where we need to inspect the aircraft thoroughly after the incident. To do that takes a lot of man hours. This technology will allow us to do it quicker, will give us a permanent photographic record and it will cut down the time it takes to get the aircraft back into service.”
Step too far?
Essentially, this is EasyJet using technology for what everyone else uses it for; to make life better. Yet I can’t help thinking that this could be a step too far. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong, but it seems to me that aircraft safety is too important to leave to drones, even if they’re being overseen by human engineers.