Star Trek Technology in Real Life – Auto Pilot #StarTrekTember

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In the Star Trek universe, it would seem like you don’t need much input from a human to drive something as complex as an interstellar ship. We can at several occasions see someone on the bridge take manual control, indicating that the controls are usually automated. The helmsman is inputting data into the computer, such as heading and speed, and the computer takes care of navigation. This would be required at the high speeds used, as a human’s reaction speed is not fast enough. By the time the helmsman has reacted to the obstacle, the ship has already crashed into it.

When this was conceived in the show, there was no such capabilities on Earth. We have since made many discoveries in navigation technologies, such as the Global Positioning System (GPS). This allows us to see where we are on the globe with less than 1m precision, how far we are from our destination, what obstacles are in the way and how fast we can reach our destination given these parameters.

High tech companies like Google and Tesla have taken this one step further and incorporated this into a system that allows the user of the car to simply put in the destination and speed, and the car will navigate itself to the destination, reacting to obstacles quicker than a human could.

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