Boeing will be testing fully automated flights in 2018, which could save travellers around 10 per cent of overall flight costs. But according to a survey performed by financial service company UBS, most people are not on board with automated air travel.
In fact, 54 per cent of the 8,000 people surveyed said they wouldn’t be checking in to a pilotless flight anytime soon, even if it saved them money. Those aged 45 and older were the most averse to the idea of strapping into a plane piloted by technology.
And just 17 per cent of those surveyed said they would be okay to fly sans pilot — so long as they get a window seat. In fact, individuals between 25 to 34 years of age were the least resistant to the concept.
A couple questions to consider: Are there still human flight attendants, or will Siri deliver the pre-flight safety speech? Also, who will bring us coffee and pretzels?
Boeing will start off by testing these pilotless planes with luggage-carrier aircrafts first. But with driverless cars already on the roads in some U.S. cities as well as London, the future of a passenger flight manned (or rather, unmanned) by a bunch of algorithms isn’t that difficult to envision.
“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,” Steve Landells, a flight specialist with the British Airline Pilots Association’s, told the BBC. “Computers can fail, and often do, and someone is still going to be needed to work that computer.”
What do you think? Would you put your life in the lifeless hands of an automated pilot?