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Could we see pilot-less flights?

09 August 2017 08:41

Pilot in cockpit.

Pilot in cockpit.

We've all seen self-driving cars in the news in recent years but would you step on board a passenger plane that didn't have a pilot?

We ask because latest research has estimated that so called pilot-less passenger aircraft could make billions of dollars for the aviation industry and be a reality within the coming decades.

Remote controlled planes

Investment bank UBS said the US aviation industry could benefit to the tune of 35 billion US dollars as a result of remote-controlled planes to carry people and cargo, adding the technology required could appear by 2025.

But what's in it for you? Well, the experts say it could also mean cheaper fares for passengers - up to 11% in the US.

With cheaper fares and the opportunity to fly more, you could always arrange some annual travel insurance.

Wary public

But people don't appear so keen. Some 53% of those polled said they'd rather not fly on an aircraft that lacked a conventional pilot.

Yet the report said safety would be boosted due to the fact there would be no chance a pilot could fall ill at the controls.

UBS predicted that the cargo industry could be the first to use flights without a pilot.

Its report said: "Unlike passengers, cargo is not concerned with the status of its pilots (human or autonomous).

"For this reason, pilotless cargo aircraft may happen more swiftly than for passengers."