The U.S. Air Force and Boeing are making a bid to become the first to automate manufacturing processes, and the Pentagon has asked the U.N. agency to look into the industry.
The Air Force has filed for a patent on automation, while Boeing is looking to start production of its next generation of air vehicles in the 2020s, according to people familiar with the matter.
The technology would allow manufacturers to automate the assembly and disassembly of a vehicle, with little or no human intervention, these people said.
The proposal for the technology comes as the Air Force is under pressure to address a backlog of 3,000 fires that have caused more than $1 billion in damage to planes and ships since Sept. 11.
The Pentagon has also been pushing Boeing to automate its firefighting capabilities.
Boeing has said it is exploring automation in areas such as fire detection and response, but has not indicated that it plans to start manufacturing the technology, according a person familiar with Boeing’s plans.
The Air Force had requested the U and N agencies examine automation of manufacturing processes and other manufacturing processes from aerospace manufacturers to determine whether they could save money and make the industry more efficient.
The new proposal would be an important step forward for the Air Forces, which has spent billions of dollars to develop a new firefighting technology and overhaul its fire-fighting practices.