New technology could put pilots out of a job

Aug 13, 2017

We’ve all heard of self-drive cars, but now travellers could soon be flying on pilotless planes. Financial service provider UBS has surveyed 8,000 people to find out what the public thinks about travelling on planes that fly themselves as the idea soon becomes a reality.

The survey found 17 per cent of people would be happy to fly on pilotless planes, while people aged between 25 and 35 were more welcoming of the idea than people over 45, who weren’t quite sold on the thought of jumping into a plane without a pilot. Can we really blame them?

But according to British Airline Pilots Association’s flight safety specialist, Steve Landells, pilotless planes aren’t a new concept and we’re not too far from seeing the idea take flight.

“Automation in the cockpit is not a new thing — it already supports operations. However, every single day pilots have to intervene when the automatics don’t do what they’re supposed to,” Landells told the BBC.

“Computers can fail, and often do, and someone is still going to be needed to work that computer,” he said.

Read more: Start doing thise before you hand over your luggage

With 70 to 80 per cent of plane accidents being caused by human error, perhaps people will eventually warm up to the idea of jumping into pilotless plane.

And if safety concerns aren’t enough, then perhaps the possibility of cheaper tickets will win travellers over.

It’s thought that airlines could save more than $26 billion in pilot costs if pilotless aircrafts were introduced.

“The average percentage of total cost and average benefit that could be passed onto passengers in price reduction for the U.S. airlines is 11 percent,” the study said.

Pilotless aircrafts are expected to be tested by Boeing as soon as 2018.

Read more: Study finds air travel spreads serious infectious disease

Would you feel comfortable flying in a pilotless plane?

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