An anonymous reader shares a report from Fortune: Autopilot is hardly a rarity in the world of commercial air travel. But when it comes to a fully automated flight, most people say "hard pass," at least for now. The pilotless plane could save airlines as much as $35 billion per year, according to a new survey from UBS, reducing the cost of highly skilled employees ($31 billion), related training ($3 billion), and fuel ($1 billion). The deployment of autonomous technology could result in significant fare cuts, an estimated one-tenth of the total in the U.S. And yet 54% of passengers refuse to board a remote-controlled plane, according to the survey of 8,000 air passengers. That sentiment will change over time, the investment bank notes. By the middle of the century, the majority may be willing. But UBS said passengers won't do it today, even if ticket prices were lower -- a big hurdle to airlines, which the bank estimates could see profits double by using the technology. Much like the automotive industry, most passengers don't realize that there are quite a few autonomous systems already in place on today's aircraft -- including those that land the plane.
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