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By Lian Cheng and Ashley Sim
KUCHING, June 7: The Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) which will be launched in Kuching in the future will be pilotless, says Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
When speaking at the Gawai Dayak Celebration at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching here earlier tonight, Abang Johari said the inspiration was derived from his latest trip to Langkawi using the latest generation of Airbus A220-300 to test the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) derived from algae in Sarawak.
During the trip, he had requested to be seated in the cockpit and after permission was granted by the captain, he observed how the pilots prepared for takeoff.
He noted the plane was operated by the pilot using only a dashboard and a sophisticated computer system which among others, provided real-time information on the plane’s engine, as well as a checklist for the pilot to go through.
“Then the pilot [operated] the buttons and knobs, and the plane moved on its own. The pilot just sat there.
“‘Ok, now we fly’, the pilot said to me. I thought since we were taking off, he must be quite a bit busy. But no. He just sat there. Then he clicked on a mouse (button) and the plane started to take off on its own,” Abang Johari related to the audience.
He also shared that he had asked the pilot what would happen if the system was down and was assured by the pilot that there was a backup system to autopilot the plane should that happen.
Following that experience, Abang Johari was impressed and convinced that Sarawak’s ART should be autonomous.
“So we will try that too. Our ART in Kuching will be operating in such a way that there will be no driver (driverless),” he said.
Also present were Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib, Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Deputy Prime Minister Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof, Deputy Premiers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas who was also the event organising chairman and Dato Sri Sim Kui Hian, and other Sarawak and federal ministers and deputy ministers. — DayakDaily