Self-Flying Cars: Pittsburgh Company Making ‘The Jetsons’ Become Reality

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Meet George Jetson — for real.

Someday, in the not too distant future, there will be self-flying vehicles, which will be able to shuttle you from place to place without the aid of a pilot.

A Pittsburgh company is developing smart technologies, like a laser and sensor system, to make sure you arrive there safely.

“What it’s able to do is as it flies it’s able to then understand the world in three dimensions, and understand that the route that it’s taking might get to close to something that would be problematic,” said Near Earth Autonomy CEO Sanjiv Singh

At Near Earth Autonomy in Bloomfield, computer scientist and roboticists are developing so-called “computer brains” for autonomous flying drones and helicopters. It’s similar to the self-driving technologies being developed by UBER and other companies nearby.

Just this week, Singh announced that it had entered a partnership with Airbus to outfit self-flying cars to land safely, steering clear of unexpected obstacles.

“That could be power lines, it could be trees, vegetation grows very quickly here,” Singh said.

At an airstrip in Allison Park, they are putting the technology through the paces. They’ve arranged large shipping containers to test the avoidance technology.

Once perfected, it will be used on the self-flying cars of the future.

“Do we see this happening exactly the way it was in ‘The Jetsons’ that every family has a self-flying vehicle and you can get out of your home and fly. I don’t know if that happens in the near future,” said Singh.

But the technology is already finding it’s applications and uses in aviation, and the first commercial uses of self-flying vehicles may only be years away.

And, as in other technological advancements, a Pittsburgh company will be taking the lead.

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