Are pilotless planes the future of air travel?
Pilotless airplanes could be in the air by the year 2025. This is according to a report by an investment bank UBS. The pilotless planes will not only be safe, they will save the aviation industry 30 billion dollars a year. As it is already, planes rely on computers to do much of the work.
According to various reports, 80 per cent of the accidents are due to human error. Many aviation industry players welcome the news that there will be pilotless planes soon. This is because of pilot shortage, where the industry needs 600,000 new pilots by 2035. The biggest problem is that many travelers do not want to fly in these pilotless planes. Most of those surveyed say even if it is cheaper they will not buy the tickets.
Is it safe to fly in a pilotless plane?
Flying in pilotless planes is safe. Most of the accidents are due to human error. There have been improvements in design and the technology that will be used on the pilotless planes. However, these assurances' from industry players have done little to address the concerns of customers. Many still have questions on what happens when the system fails, or if there is a cyber attack. One important thing to note is that computers do much of the pilots work in today's planes. This form of flight is referred to as 'fly by wire'
Effects of pilotless technology on airline industry
The airline industry will save around 30 billion dollars by getting rid of the pilots. The problem with going pilotless is that most of the passengers are not comfortable with it. Only 17% of travelers feel confident flying pilotless. The technology will remove the pilot from all manual controls. This transition to pilotless planes will take place over a long period. It will start with the cargo planes and commercial planes will follow later. The price of tickets will drop significantly as operation costs drop.
How much money will be saved?
The aviation industry will save billions of dollars by going pilotless.
Potential risks involved:
The pilotless planes will posses several security concerns. This will happen if a human will not be able to override the system in case of a glitch. The industry players might decide to have pilots on the ground. They would play a similar role to the military drone pilots. They will take over the plane when they sense trouble. Another concern is who will be in charge when the plane is on the air. Who takes charge in case of emergency landing? What if there is an unruly passenger? Will the computer communicate effectively with the air traffic control? These are some of the concerns that need to be addressed before we go pilotless.
Current regulations on pilotless passenger planesAccording to the civil Aviation Authority, there are no regulations because passenger planes do not exist. At the moment all planes have a human being to pilot it.
What do pilots think?
They have concerns about security as well as safety. The pilots insist they have to intervene countless times when the automated system fails. Even though going pilotless will save the airlines money, they will need to make huge investments to make it a reality. Making pilotless planes safe will be the greatest problem. The greatest threat is the hacking problems. Hacking shows how vulnerable, the pilotless planes will become.
So far, cars that do not have drivers have come under attack causing accidents. Hackers will take control over the internet and cause all kinds of problems.
Today's population is young and most of them are ready to embrace technology. A German company Volocopter is doing tests on the pilotless air taxis. This is the first step that will lead to commercial flights that are automated. The cargo planes might go pilotless before the passengers' one. Human life is so precious as compared to anything else in this world.
However, it will still take a very long time before pilotless planes become a reality. It might not materialize in the next 20years. It will take another 40 years and still so, very few planes will be flying pilotless. What will be most important is an airtight system that will keep out all those with malicious intent.
One way to effectively safe-gaurd peace of mind as a business traveller is by taking out effective business travel insurance. Though you can't foresee every eventuality, it is comforting to know that you are insured against any interference with your business materials and you are covered, should you require medical assistance.
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