Pilotless planes could save airlines $35 bn: study

Pilotless planes might become a reality, as soon as 2025, an extensive report by Swiss bank UBS Group. The Swiss bank focused on the potentially paradigm-shifting technology and offered some exciting stats, but there was a caveat.

Though the planes could save the aviation industry up to $35 billion annually and make flights safer and more efficient, only 17 per cent of the 8,000 people surveyed globally would be willing to fly in one.

According to half of the respondents they would not buy a pilotless flight ticket even if it was cheaper than the alternative, a very real possibility, according to the report. The report found that ticket prices could be cut 11 per cent with the replacement of human pilots.

The concern over pilotless planes broke down along generational and international lines, with younger, more educated respondents from the ages of 18 to 34 seen to be more favourably disposed to the idea of a pilotless plane.

People in countries like Germany and France would not be receptive to the self-flying aircraft, while respondents in the US were more open to the idea.

The technology needed for the operation of automated planes could be here by 2025, and according to UBS there was also room for automated business to extend to jets, helicopters and commercial aircrafts beyond 2030.

"We think it is likely we would initially see cargo the first subsector to adopt new related technologies, with the number of pilots falling from two to one and eventually from one to none," the report said.

Though many people declined to fly on automated planes, major plane manufacturers were pushing for the change.

Fortune reported that Boeing announced in June it was testing the appropriate technology and hinted that AI could replace a number of tasks currently performed by pilots.