Near the end of The Dark Knight Rises, Fox examines the Bat and finds out that an auto-pilot had been installed. This seems to me a bit strange, because we have seen the Bat carrying the bomb far from Gotham. I have seen that there are some questions here about the way Batman managed to escape the explosion, but shouldn't the vehicle have been completely destroyed? From what I understood, the bomb was bigger than an atomic bomb.

How did they manage to retrieve the Bat and analyze its software(this is even more unbelievable)? Have I missed something?

  • 3
    That's a good point - which leads us to assume that there were two Bats, which then leads us to assume that Wayne fixed the auto-pilot in BOTH of them for some reason, and which also lends credence to the suggestion that Batman somehow switched bats before the bomb was taken out into the bay, and therefore that shot of him in the cockpit before the explosion was actually of him in the other Bat. It's all a huge cop out IMO.
    – Nobby
    Jul 30, 2012 at 12:10
  • @Nobby Hilarious. Could this be just some cheap explanation? The only reason for asking this question is because I tend to believe that Nolan never leaves anything to hazard, that everything has a point. Could this be just a horrible slip?
    – Dragos
    Jul 30, 2012 at 13:27
  • 1
    Only assumption i could think of is he fixed autopilot on one Bat before his back is broken and when he comes back he couldn't access the first bat again (may be he lost track of where he put it or it could be over a building under more scrutiny ) so he ended up using spare bat and fixes the auto pilot on that easily since doing it second time would be relatively easier and quicker than first time
    – Dredd
    Jul 30, 2012 at 13:49
  • @Morpheus You may be right. I am aware that a good answer to this question might be made only on speculations. Still, I hope that someone will be able to make a persuading answer. The Dark Knight seemed pretty realistic to me, so now I am trying to convince myself that Nolan didn't make some huge mistakes with this one(although Batman Begins felt a bit exaggerated, this one had too many questionable moments, in my opinion). And creating/fixing an auto-pilot in an hour(although I believe it is rather a matter of minutes) seems a bit far-fetched.
    – Dragos
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:03
  • 2
    This totally reminds me of how fans of the 'Alien' series were creating their own versions of events in Prometheus to justify scenes that didn't make sense in that film.
    – Nobby
    Jul 30, 2012 at 15:47

5 Answers 5


If I'm remembering right, the techs say that the change was 'checked in'. I took this to mean 'checked into source control'.
That is:

  • There are two bats
  • They both use the same software, which includes (non-functional) autopiloting.
  • Bruce Wayne was planning on using one of them, but needed the autopilot fixed. So he modified the autopilot. Being the nice guy he is (or perhaps just not wanting to lose his work), he checks his changes into source control.
  • During a regular maintenance cycle (perhaps when the techs booted up the second machine), the software is pulled and deployed to the other bat.
  • The existence of a working autopilot is communicated to Lucius Fox.
  • OK, it makes sense, although now come some other problems to my mind: all the cool stuff Batman uses should have been prototypes. Still, we see plenty of "Batmobiles" and, according to your interpretation, two Bats. Anyway, I will leave this question open in order to see if other users come up with different explanations.
    – Dragos
    Jul 30, 2012 at 19:12
  • 1
    There's more than one 'working prototype' Dreamliner (787). Especially if the military was planning on using them in urban warfare, it would be helpful to test them flying in close conjunction, to see if they would cannibalize each other's downdrafts (or something). There are also different 'types' of build-prototypes that may not be 'complete' - the Enterprise space shuttle was only used to test post-re-entry gliding and handling, it was never launched on a rocket. Jul 30, 2012 at 19:46
  • 2
    I still find it hard to believe that Bruce Wayne would be able to do any programming and "fix the auto-pilot" software for a complicated flying machine such as the Bat. He's good, but not that good.
    – Bernard
    Aug 4, 2012 at 20:36
  • 1
    @Bernard Batman's super power is his intelligence. Apr 1, 2013 at 19:25
  • Or can it be that Batman was in the Bat, dropped the bomb over the bay, and sped away like a Blackbird (SR71)
    – Firee
    Dec 22, 2014 at 12:15

Descriptions of the bomb in the movie are inconsistent, but at one point it's mentioned that it's a neutron bomb. A neutron bomb would have a higher radiation yield but less destructive power. There's a good analysis of the bomb's potential effects here.

Therefore, though it would be hazardous to salvage at ground zero, it's plausible that the aircraft could have been found intact.

  • I don't see how this answers the question.
    – Tablemaker
    Aug 1, 2012 at 18:12
  • 2
    While I think X-Zero's answer is more likely, I believe the implication here is that the neutron bomb would not have destroyed the bat but merely (!) irradiated it. Of course, the resulting EMP would fry all of its electronics along with the software upgrades in this scenario. Aug 2, 2012 at 7:52
  • A neutron bomb would also kill Batman from the radiation, in something like a few hours/days, plus leave the bat itself radioactively 'hot'. Aug 2, 2012 at 17:05
  • @X-Zero He's not saying Batman was in the bat but not hurt seriously from the neutron bomb. He still got out beforehand, like in the other explanations. He just says that the remotely controlled bat itself could have been salvaged. But David is still right about the radiation and EMP.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 7, 2012 at 21:29

The whole ending is up for interpretation and how Lucius retrieves the Bat seems to be part of it. When he first shows Bruce the Bat it is a prototype, and he tells Bruce "and yes it does come in black." This suggests to me there is more than one. The black one Bruce uses, the one we see the techs in at the end is the original prototype first shown to Bruce. As someone said, when Bruce fixes the autopilot on his black Bat, maybe it synchs with the prototype. The techs said it was fixed 6 months ago. So the autopilot is working long before Bruce takes the Bat out across the bay. The confusing thing is why he tells Selina there is no autopilot. Perhaps just to throw her off to enhance his planned fake death, not to mention just a way of tricking the audience.


There was never a single bat. The armory had more than one and we can see that Bane uses them for city patrol. When the techs check the other bat, we see that it has been patched in the auto-pilot issue. But the thing is, Bruce Wayne wouldn't have a favorite Bat and use it every night. Being realistic, it's quite possible, damages occur and that he keeps switching between them, Hence he needs the auto-pilot fixed on all of them. And I don't think he was planning on using it to destroy the bomb. It was fixed six months ago, like the tech says. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing when Bruce saw his out and decided to take it. He saw Blake stand up to the bad guys and that's when he gave the co-ordinates of the cave to him. Then he just lies to Gordon ( or Catwoman ) about the auto-pilot and takes his way out of the crime-fighting business.

As for the bomb explosion being huge, so what? He just got off way ahead near the bay. They never did show the last few seconds ticking and Batman's face together. He had enough time (close to 40 seconds). And the speed with which Bat travels, say 250 m/s ( it's a futuristic plane, it could even be supersonic but we never saw the sonic-boom ), so 40 seconds counts for 10 km. Now that's pretty safe and far off.


I too had this doubt and just realised this: the bat shown in the film ending is not black in colour...so it should have probably been synced with the other one

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