Autonomy—the ability of automated systems to make their own decisions—is essential if the manpower demands of unmanned aircraft are to be minimized. But autonomy means behavior that cannot be predefined and programmed, anathema to certification authorities wanting guarantees a vehicle will always perform as designed. How to certify autonomous systems is a conundrum that must be solved if unmanned aircraft are to achieve their potential—particularly vertical-takeoff-and-landing ...

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