The future may be closer than we think, with it being predicted that pilotless aeroplanes will be operating as soon as 2025. This is according to a report by Swiss bank, USB, which found that planes operating themselves would save the aviation industry billions annually.
The technology also comes at a time when it is predicted that, for example, the USA may experience a shortage of pilots, technicians and cabin crew in the next two decades, according to the 2016 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook. “Over the next 20 years, the Asia Pacific region will lead the worldwide growth in demand for pilots, with a requirement for 248 000 new pilots. North America will require 112 000, Europe 104 000, the Middle East 58 000, Latin America 51 000, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)/Russia 22 000, and Africa 22 000.”
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But are travellers ready to board a pilotless plane and put their faith in its ability to transport them to their destination safely? The answer is no – for now. Of 8 000 travellers surveyed, only 17% said yes, while more than half the respondents said no.
This is despite the technology posing economic advantages. With it, the aviation industry has the potential of saving $35 billion each year, and ticket prices would be slashed by 11%.
Mashable reports that the report showed divides across “generational and international lines”. “Younger, more educated respondents from the ages of 18-34 were more willing to take the plunge (or, rather, were less concerned about taking a literal plunge) in a pilotless plane,” it reported. It continued to say that respondents from European countries such as Germany and France weren’t amenable to the idea of flying on pilotless planes, while those from the USA were more welcoming of the idea.