I’m not a pilot but know a thing or two about flight dynamics. As you know there are currently quite a few aircraft under development designed for low-and-slow and (eventually) autonomous flight. These are often referred to as air taxis, eVTOL planes et cetera. Their engineering may require a lot of new thinking but perhaps not. This relies in part on the answer to the question whether they’re designed to be optionally autonomous or exclusively so. My question pertains to aircraft that are NOT to be controlled by humans or only in the case of an emergency, but even then only indirectly through an advanced fly-by-wire system, one probably more advanced than those in modern fighter jets which would be impossible to fly without FBW.
The autonomous air taxis will be more affected by atmospheric turbulence than commercial high-and-fast jetliners and turboprops, and they’ll have to dynamically compensate for this to ensure a smooth and safe ride. To achieve this requires continuous adaptation relying mostly on gyroscope measurements coupled to small to moderate steering actions under autonomous control. Responsiveness is key here and that’s what computers are good at.
So let’s say we’re designing an airplane that’s to be autonomously controlled at all time (obviously with sufficient redundancy). Might for example a plane with a high moment of inertia provide a smoother and at least as safe ride as a “properly” designed airframe designed for manual control? Or do you think the old rules still apply: low(-ish) rotational inertia provides superior handling and passenger experience.
My thinking is that a flight computer that’s programmed to stay within rationally determined limits (to prevent spins et cetera) can fly a plane not just safely but smoother as well. This is akin to how very large ocean vessels are hardly affected by waves and winds compared to small ships. The small vessel is likely to have superior handling characteristics under optimal conditions and yet you'd be much rather off sailing on the large one even if both ships are able to stay afloat in extreme weather.