businessinsider.com In a world-first, the drone uses automated voice technology to issue and receive calls to and from air traffic control. It speaks in English – in a male or a female voice and various accents – and uses the International Civil Aviation Organization standard phraseology for pilots. The drone was developed by Melbourne's RMIT University and was designed primarily to make the machines safer by providing them with a backup if they lose contact with the person flying them from the ground. "An air traffic controller could talk to a drone just like they would with any other aircraft," Dr Reece Clothier, an aerospace engineer from RMIT University, told The Telegraph. "It allows the drone to broadcast its position exactly like a pilot would. The drone could converse with air traffic control and request entry into airspace or a waypoint. They can receive instructions to hold or climb or descend. The drone could respond exactly like a pilot and say 'roger' and execute the clearance." Dr Clothier said the device could improve safety because it could allow drones "to behave exactly like a pilot would so they don't cause congestion". But he said the next step was to develop the drone's use of artificial intelligence technology and improve its decision making ability. This could involve ensuring the drone acts more like a human pilot and are able to assess air traffic control advice before acting on it or alter requests because of sudden changes such as shifts in the weather.
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