Forget self-driving cars, this plane landed itself

I don’t have a pilot’s license. I’m not crazy about heights. I’m not even great at flight simulators on a computer.

None of these obstacles, however, stopped me from landing a small private jet recently at Stewart International Airport in New Windsor, New York. It was easy, really.

OK, full confession: Actually, the plane landed itself. I merely pressed a single red button on the roof of the main cabin, transforming it into an autonomous aircraft.

I was aboard a $2.75-million Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet, newly outfitted with an aptly named safety system called Safe Return, which is in the final stages of getting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration…

All kidding aside, the Safe Return system is designed to address a dead serious problem: What happens if the pilot becomes incapacitated and is unable to act? In just such an emergency, the system can let any passenger safely land the plane.