Pilotless planes, that may happen in future

Science

09 Aug 2017

Planes without a pilot, are you okay with that idea?

We are very close to having driverless cars. Therefore, it's about time that we discuss the natural progression -pilotless planes.

Plane manufacturer Boeing has a 2018 test date for them and others are expected to follow suit.

So, it's safe to say that in 20 years, this might very well be a norm rather than an exception.

But are we okay with the idea?

Skeptical

Not a warm reception

Not a warm reception

If the survey conducted by UBS is to be believed, we are far from okay about the idea of not having human pilots at the helm of our planes.

More than 54% of the 8,000 surveyed said they're not comfortable in taking pilotless flights. The older age groups were more vocal. Half of the people aged 45 and above dissed the idea altogether.

Safety

If it is the question of safety

One of the reasons why people shun the idea of pilotless planes is that they believe it'll not be safe. It may sound surprising, but it's actually safer than a human pilot manned plane.

A UBS report showed that 70-80% of aviation accidents happen due to human errors, while crew fatigue accounts for 15-20% of those. In pilotless planes, human errors stand eliminated.

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Automation

Machines are not mistake proof

Machines are not mistake proof

Automation in a flight cockpit is not exactly a new thing. On a daily basis, it's deployed to take care of several key operations, when the plane is airborne.

The counter argument, to pilotless planes, is that the human pilots take over when the automation fails to do what they're meant to. Computers make errors too, thus the human element is needed.

Pilots

Well, not now. Maybe later?

We could go on weighing pros and cons, but at the end, it comes down to a very simple question - will you be ready to board a plane, knowing that there's no human pilot in it?

If the public warms up to the idea, it's possible. However, looking at the current scenario, it'll still take some more time for the most of us.

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