Narrator:This is Science Today. In a post-9/11 world, increased airline security may come with the cost of curbing a pilot's authority. Computer scientists Edward Lee, of the University of California, Berkeley, has devised a computer controlled avionics system called "soft walls" that would prevent planes from entering designated no-fly zones over potential targets.
Lee: The principle of the system is to give as much control to the pilot as is possible, subject to the constraint that the aircraft does not enter the no-fly zone. So I think that it is arguable that it is the least invasive solution that will keep aircraft out of these no-fly zones.
Narrator: Lee says many pilots are critical of the system, which can override their command to enter a no-fly zone and counter any effort they make to push the plane into a restricted area.
Lee: In my opinion, I think the skepticism of the pilots is healthy and appropriate. I believe however, it's far better, for example, than the risk of being shot down, which is currently the line of defense around many major airports and major cities.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.