Facebook, Airbus and BMW Tackle the Future: DLD Show Update

(Bloomberg) -- Munich’s Digital Life and Design conference chose "Optimism and Courage" as the motto for its 2019 gathering. The upbeat slogan belies the more critical tone to the proceedings as attendees and consumers realize the darker side of tech’s biggest companies.

Issues like regulation, privacy, fake news and the rise of xenophobic nationalism will highlight the second day, as executives such as Facebook Inc.’s Sheryl Sandberg and BMW AG’s Harald Krueger take the stage.

We’re following the developments in real time. Time stamps are local for Munich.

Airbus CTO Looks at Autonomous Planes (10:30 a.m.)

Though autopilot is not a new technology, Airbus’s Chief Technology Office Grazia Vittadini said the company is hoping current advances in artificial intelligence will help complete the step to completely autonomous planes.

“That’s what we’re looking into, artificial intelligence, to free up pilots from more mundane routines,” Vittadini said in an interview with Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty. Currently, the company is working on moving to single-pilot operations, with full autonomy coming later.

Airline executives, though reluctant to speak on the topic, would benefit from autonomous planes as they seek to cut costs and handle ongoing shortages of qualified pilots -- two issues that could be addressed by efficiency improvements pilot-less planes would provide. The biggest challenge for planemakers like Airbus is convincing regulators to approve the technology, Vittadini said.

“Explainability of artificial intelligence is a real challenge for us when it comes to the certification of products,” she said.

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