Jonathan Downey is the kind of guy you want flying you around. The 29-year-old MIT-educated engineer not only has a commercial pilot’s license, but he also helped set the record for longest unmanned helicopter flight (18.7 hours) and pulled off among the highest hovers out of ground-effect (20,000 feet). You also get the feeling he’d knock out a barrel roll if you asked. Downey has taken his pilot and pilotless chops and turned them toward his own commercial drone company, Airware. Airware doesn’t build drones; it builds in software and hardware the brains that fly the machines and a platform on which others can build. Think of Airware as an operating system with some hardware thrown in. Wired Business caught up with Downey to talk the commercial case for robotic planes, and whether we’re going to see pilotless planes before driverless cars.

Read the interview in Wired…