Autonomously controlled vehicles can often get a bad rap. So if you need convincing about the unbelievable abilities of this technology, check out this video of an unconscious pilot being saved by their jet's autopilot computer system.
The recently declassified video shows a US Air Force Arizona Air National Guard F-16 fighter jet undergoing maneuver training over the southwest US in May this year.
As Aviation Week reports, the F-16 student pilot started to pull up for a barrel roll, but was forced into a G-induced loss of consciousness half-way through the maneuver. At an altitude of 5,180 meters (17,000 feet), the jet then began to drop nose-first at an angle of 55 degrees. Within seconds, it had dropped to just 2,670 meters (8,760 feet). At the fastest point of descent, the jet was traveling at 1,210 kilometers (750 miles) per hour – only marginally less than supersonic speeds.
Just as the fate of the pilot seemed doomed, the aircraft’s Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System kicks in, causing the jet to swoop upright and regain control, seen in the video around the 0:32 minute mark. This is the fourth time this technology has saved an aircraft. Watch the whole drama unfold below.