Although the passengers do not want it.
Unmanned airliners can significantly reduce airline costs and help reduce ticket prices. But on the way of progress, passengers can simply stand up, who are simply afraid to use this mode of transport.
Passenger aircraft flying without a pilot, can soon become a reality. According to forecasts of UBS analysts, the first airliners, remotely controlled from the ground, can appear already by 2025 year. According to estimates, such aircraft will allow airlines to save $ 35 billion. First of all, the costs for the pilots' salaries will decrease.
In a sense, developing an unmanned aircraft is easier than an unmanned vehicle, since already now a significant part of the route is controlled by an autopilot. Thus, almost all the technologies needed for automated flights already exist.
At the current level of development, a computer can land an aircraft even in difficult weather conditions and with reduced visibility. In addition, for a long time different countries have been using military aircraft-drones - these technologies can also be used in civil aviation.
The advent of unmanned aircraft will also benefit passengers: it is estimated that the automation of flights will lead to a decrease in the price of air tickets for 10%. In addition, flying on unmanned aircraft will be safer than manned. Automation will exclude the possibility of emergency because of the human factor.
But the passengers for some reason are not happy. According to a survey conducted by UBS, in which 8 thousand people participated, 54% of passengers will refuse to fly in an airplane without a pilot, even if ticket prices are lower.
At the same time, among the respondents from the age of 18 to 24 years, and also with higher education there were more than those who declared that they would be ready to fly on unmanned aircraft. In general, only 17% of respondents expressed their readiness to fly on such an airplane.
Aviation expert Chris Tarry, the head and founder of Ctaira, said: "This is a long road to the future. Very courageous will be the airline that decides to take the pilots out of the aircraft. " Therefore, according to a study by UBS, first unmanned aircraft will most likely become cargo planes, while in passenger planes the number of pilots will first be reduced. It is assumed that, initially, instead of two pilots there will be only one on board, another pilot will assist in controlling the aircraft from the ground.
Among the companies engaged in the development of automated flight technologies is Boeing. The corporation creates a system in which decisions now taken by the pilot will be accepted with the help of artificial intelligence. Boeing is going to test an unmanned aircraft as early as next year. Although in general, in the case of Boeing developments, it still does not mean that the aircraft flew completely without a pilot, but only about reducing the number of crew members.
Skeptics are not only among passengers, but also among industry representatives. "Automation in the cockpit is not a new thing - it is already being applied. However, every day the pilots interfere when the automation does not do what is needed. Computers can not cope, and this happens often, and someone else will still need to work on this computer. Most of us have electronic devices that do amazing things - yet a person still needs to manage them, "said Steve Landelles, a flight safety expert with the British Civil Aviation Pilots Association (BALPA) and a former pilot.
According to Mr. Landelles, referring also to the opinion of other members of the BALPA, completely unmanned flights are unlikely to ever become a reality. Rather, it is likely that the pilot will move from the cockpit to the ground.