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Pilotless Planes Could Save Airlines $35 Billion Per Year, But Passengers Aren't Willing To Fly In Them Yet (fortune.com) 313

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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Pilotless Planes Could Save Airlines $35 Billion Per Year, But Passengers Aren't Willing To Fly In Them Yet

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  • I'd probably do it for the novelty of it, but for everyone else, lower the price. When they realize that they're paying more for an inferior product (or simply as a security blanket), they'll come to their senses.

    • by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:30PM (#54959643) Homepage

      This is the point. Why should it mean increased profit for airlines rather than lower prices for passengers?

      I'd have thought the first step would be to relieve the need for a copilot?

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "This is the point. Why should it mean increased profit for airlines rather than lower prices for passengers?"

        Why not both? Without having to pay pilots, hey could lower the prices for passengers and still make a profit. Might need to spend a bit more on the insurance but that's the breaks.

    • There are people that consistently fly the cheapest airlines, despite there being other options because they can't afford anything else. Flying for work was an eye opening experience into how the 'other half' lives.

      Start up a pilotless airline that flies some core routes and consumers will beat a path to your door. And while you're at it hire some industrial engineers to improve loading and unloading times.

    • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:56PM (#54959903) Homepage Journal

      Lower the prices, then slowly raise them back up again while dropping the option for tickets on human piloted planes.

    • by KingOfBLASH ( 620432 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:58PM (#54959931) Journal

      If you got rid of the pilot and co pilot, you would barely see a blip in your ticket price.

      Let's do the math.

      2 pilots @ $200k each == $400k
      Training etc for those pilots @ $200k each == $400k
      1 trip per day assuming 3 weeks vacation a year: 5 * (52 - 3) == 245
      Cost of pilot per trip: $800k / 245 == $3.27k

      There are approximately 200 seats on a 737, so that's $3.27k / 200 == $16 per ticket potential savings

      Now for an airline, that might make sense on a large scale because they'll reap millions a year in savings, but for consumers it's barely a blip on the radar.

      These are with conservative estimates. The salary I took was the highest in the range on glassdoor, I'm assuming all their fancy simulator time doubles their salaries, and most pilots fly short haul flights so they rack up multiple flights a day. Wikipedia confirms the number of seats for a 737, but of course if you have a cabin of first class passengers there are less seats, but still it wouldn't matter.

      Additionally, insurance companies will likely charge increased premiums for a pilotless craft, so at the end of day the savings will be considerably less.

      The only time you would conceivably see a savings big enough to care would be with a transcontinental flight where you might have four or more pilots (because they sleep in shifts and rotate out). But, compared to the ticket price, I suspect the savings will be marginal.

      I suspect there would also be additional overhead as pilots have other functions than flying. For instance, determining if a reroute is necessary or if a passenger is fit to fly.

      Additional training and delegation of these duties would most likely raise the cost of other crew.

      So, in the end, this is a non issue. Until AI auto pilot comes in a cheap as in uber quad copter that will taxi you where you want on demand, we won't see AI in the sky

      References:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      https://www.glassdoor.com/Sala... [glassdoor.com]

      • Your estimate of pilot's salaries is way high, I think. Many of the smaller regional jets have pilots that earn 20-40K$/year, but those planes have something like 50 passengers. The ones earning the big bucks are a dying breed. You als need to account for the various benefits of course.
        • I mentioned I was overestimating. The point is if, given very aggressive projections, there's still not a large move to the ticket price, getting rid of pilots doesn't help consumers at all

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          Your estimate of pilot's salaries is way high, I think. Many of the smaller regional jets have pilots that earn 20-40K$/year, but those planes have something like 50 passengers. The ones earning the big bucks are a dying breed. You als need to account for the various benefits of course.

          Few airline pilots will be earning US$200,000 p/a, but you've got to add in externalities, taxes, duties, support staff, overtime/expenses. Sure this wont add up to US$200K but that's also the point the GP was trying to make, even at a vastly over-inflated cost, getting rid of the pilots will not make air travel any cheaper or cost effective.

          I think it's a good thing that planes have such capable safety systems, but knowing how these systems work I wouldn't want to fly in a pilotless plane. An Airbus con

      • Now for an airline, that might make sense on a large scale because they'll reap millions a year in savings, but for consumers it's barely a blip on the radar.

        The article isn't talking about consumers.

      • If you got rid of the pilot and co pilot, you would barely see a blip in your ticket price.

        Let's do the math.

        2 pilots @ $200k each == $400k
        Training etc for those pilots @ $200k each == $400k
        1 trip per day assuming 3 weeks vacation a year: 5 * (52 - 3) == 245
        Cost of pilot per trip: $800k / 245 == $3.27k

        There are approximately 200 seats on a 737, so that's $3.27k / 200 == $16 per ticket potential savings

        Now for an airline, that might make sense on a large scale because they'll reap millions a year in savings, but for consumers it's barely a blip on the radar.

        These are with conservative estimates. The salary I took was the highest in the range on glassdoor, I'm assuming all their fancy simulator time doubles their salaries, and most pilots fly short haul flights so they rack up multiple flights a day. Wikipedia confirms the number of seats for a 737, but of course if you have a cabin of first class passengers there are less seats, but still it wouldn't matter.

        Additionally, insurance companies will likely charge increased premiums for a pilotless craft, so at the end of day the savings will be considerably less.

        The only time you would conceivably see a savings big enough to care would be with a transcontinental flight where you might have four or more pilots (because they sleep in shifts and rotate out). But, compared to the ticket price, I suspect the savings will be marginal.

        I suspect there would also be additional overhead as pilots have other functions than flying. For instance, determining if a reroute is necessary or if a passenger is fit to fly.

        Additional training and delegation of these duties would most likely raise the cost of other crew.

        So, in the end, this is a non issue. Until AI auto pilot comes in a cheap as in uber quad copter that will taxi you where you want on demand, we won't see AI in the sky

        References:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
        https://www.glassdoor.com/Sala... [glassdoor.com]

        Small costs add up

        The argument that it only saves $x can be said of every other cost saving measure but taken together they amount to quite a bit of money.

        There are about 10 million flights per year in the US. Save $3.27k per flight and that is $32.7 Billion. That's real money and pretty close to what the article suggests.

        Rerouting is not a difficult task for a computer, or a person on the ground to deal with. Other members of the flight crew are quite able to determine if a passenger is fit to fly, assu

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:23PM (#54959565) Journal

    Technology can and does fail, due to bugs or intrusion. I want a human as a backup. Backup systems are usually a good thing, especially when you are thousands of feet high.

    • by xevioso ( 598654 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:28PM (#54959615)

      Exactly. I'm well aware that most modern flight is highly automated. But knowing there's a human in the pilot's seat to take care of anything unforeseen is incredibly important.

      • I'm torn. The fleshy backup is great, but it also often messes things up. I am curious if the backup actually prevents more crashes than the number it causes.

    • Funny, I generally come at it the other direction. Humans can and do fail, due to bugs or intrusion. This is why I trust tested/proven, engineered hardware systems over biomass.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@NOSpam.world3.net> on Tuesday August 08, 2017 @08:00AM (#54963475) Homepage Journal

      On the flip side, most air accidents are due to human error these days. Often it's due to not following procedure or poor communication making the pilots get confused and take the wrong action. So having a backup human might actually make things worse, when they get confused and take over unnecessarily.

  • LOL fare cuts (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:25PM (#54959581)

    We all know the airlines will use this technology to replace the pilots, but they'll keep the fares the same, sell a few more seats in the cockpit, and then kill your dog just for laughs.

    • Exactly. Airlines are the same people who've put forth ideas like having everyone stand on the flight so they can pack in more people and weighing you and charging extra per pound. Their creative ability to invent new fees while forcing you to sit in a chair slightly smaller than a McDonald's napkin is legendary.

      Anybody who believes they'll reduce their fares for any reason is a naive child.

  • is that with too many automation systems in the cockpit, the pilots get rusty.
  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:30PM (#54959641)

    The cost of one crash where they were judged negligent could bankrupt just about any airline, so there is more to this than the cost of salaries.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:31PM (#54959657)

    Qantas Flight 32 [wikipedia.org].

    Autopilot is great when everything goes smoothly. But the moment things go pear shaped, it's not so good. Qantas actually ran the incident in their simulators after the event; pretty much everybody who tried to complete it ended up with a hull loss (aka: the plane crashed.) It was pure luck that they had one of their most experienced flight crew on board, who managed to land the craft with no loss of life.

    That's the reason why I'm not comfortable with fully automated (no human pilot on board) flights. Yes, flights these days are mostly automated. But the pilots are trained to the Nth degree to handle matters when things go wrong, and that's why they're paid the big bucks. It's not like trains or automobiles, where if something goes wrong, you can just pull over and get out of the vehicle, after all...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Gotta say, that's a pretty convincing argument. This article puts some flesh on that story:

      http://lifehacker.com/the-power-of-mental-models-how-flight-32-avoided-disas-1765022753 [lifehacker.com]

      Hard to imagine that plane being landed safely by autopilot or remote control.

    • It was pure luck that they had one of their most experienced flight crew on board, who managed to land the craft with no loss of life.

      So put all those process into the script and suddenly every flight now has that same chances, not just one.
      I agree a human should be around just in case, but don't think that machines can't be taught to know as much as humans.

  • I have exactly zero problem with the idea.

    What keeps me from flying is my unwillingness to put up with the TSA.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      I have exactly zero problem with the idea. What keeps me from flying is my unwillingness to put up with the TSA.

      I just solved that by inventing the Grope-A-Matic.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:34PM (#54959685) Homepage

    But they WILL get rid of the co-pilot. Aircraft are all about the back up systems, and the human pilot is a good one. That's why they have the co-pilot now. They won't get rid of all people in the cockpit.

    Instead they will have one pilot as an emergency back up, with the computer doing the flying 90% of the time.

    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      Instead they will have one pilot as an emergency back up, with the computer doing the flying 90% of the time.

      Pilots are humans. Humans have medical issues at unpredictable times. What do you do for your 10% of times that the computer is not capable of doing the flying when the pilot has a medical issue?

    • We've already seen loss of the crew positions of engineer and navigator. It used to take four people to fly a large passenger plane. First to happen was the combination of engineer and navigator as engines became more reliable and automated. When computers took over much of the navigation then the deck crew shrunk again to two.

      If there are people on board then people will want to see a person in charge. FAA rules require so many crew members to assist evacuation in the event of a crash. I can't imagine

    • by dohzer ( 867770 )

      Never is a long time.

  • 31 billion divided by how many airlines? I think the quotient is going to be less than the amount of money an airline would fritter away on stupidity, and that's before talking about who would actually be the beneficiaries of that savings.

  • ...there are quite a few autonomous systems already in place on today's aircraft -- including those that land the plane.

    After a recent hard landing that made quite a few people inhale loudly–– If it was an autonomous system that was responsible for that landing I'll happy keep paying to have an experienced human land the plane I'm flying in.

    And if that was a human, well, he or she needs more time in the simulator.

    • These days, commercial airline pilots have to conduct a minimum number of *manual* landings a year to keep certification - most commercial airline flying is done under one form of automation or another.

      You have systems that automatically line you up on the runway, take off, deal with engine out scenarios on take off, fly your entire route from A to B with automated routing updates from ATC on the way, automatically enter the holding pattern at the other end, automatically land, and automatically brake to be

  • there is a lot of stuff that an auto pilot can't do.

    How well will a remote command center work with satellite ping times? + the time needed to get a hand on the issue.

    • Think less remote-control and more autonomous. It will happen in stages-- first things to reduce the cockpit workload for the pilot and co-pilot, next elimination of the co-pilot, next elimination of the reserve pilot on long flights, and ultimately making the purser the human backup.

  • Water Landings? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xbytor ( 215790 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:38PM (#54959727) Homepage

    When a plane can land on the Hudson River without a pilot and without a loss of life, I'll be the first to buy a ticket.

    • Most planes and pilots can't do that anyway, so the automated plane is like 95% there in this respect.
    • When a plane can land on the Hudson River without a pilot and without a loss of life, I'll be the first to buy a ticket.

      An auto-pilot could probably do that. Making the decision to do so and that it would the best course of action is another matter. Remember, they're talking about "auto-pilots" not "ai-pilots".

    • Re:Water Landings? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@NOSpam.world3.net> on Tuesday August 08, 2017 @08:04AM (#54963493) Homepage Journal

      You want to mitigate the risk of an extremely rare type of accident that a machine might not be able to handle, by increasing the risk of more common accidents caused by human error.

      You are much more likely to be killed by the pilot than saved by them.

  • I'm a native English speaker and I can't understand a damn word in most Youtube aviation videos. Seriously, go watch one with radio chatter and see if you can make out what they're saying. It's like listening to Greek.

    So unless they make the control tower AI also, or have the air traffic controllers issue computer-friendly text instructions, there is no way a computer will be able to fly all by itself.

  • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:41PM (#54959745)

    Automation in the cockpit is great, except when something happens that wasn't expected, then, not having a pilot who has experience and skill is a death sentence. In fact, some would argue that we have already automated too much of the work pilots are doing, leaving them with few chances to actually practice their flying skills, increasing the danger should something unexpected actually happen.

    How many times will we blithely assume that we can just automate complex tasks like flying passengers around? In the grand scheme of things labor costs of pilots is literally a drop in the bucket compared to fuel, logistics and maintenance. Are we going to do away with the cabin crew and their salary costs too? I mean they are only there to pass out peanuts and drinks (or the odd overpriced meal) to passengers. Why are THEY there? Oh wait, you say they have a safety component to their job? You don't say, and Pilots don't?

    Personally, give me two happy pilots, well paid, well rested and well practiced who have actual flying skills sitting up front. I feel safer having to people who are likely going to be the first to die if we crash. I suspect they will put their best effort into saving us, given the situation.

    Like my father, who worked for United Airlines for more than three decades said... "Pilots don't get paid for what they do, they get paid for what they can do when necessary." Stop trying to be cheap and pay up...

    • Even when a human is piloting a plane it can crash when something happens that wasn't expected. For some cases the 'something' was unrecoverable and nothing could be done to avoid the crash. However in many instances it was human error on top of a mechanical issue that lead to an avoidable crash. People are too quick to discount this case when they imagine scenarios where a computer would crash a plane that a human pilot wouldn't. It works both ways.
      • Human error is a risk, yes, but it can be managed. I want pilots up front for a reason. Take a look at UAL 232 that crashed in Souix City Iowa on July 19, 1989 after an uncontained engine failure at cruse that severed all the hydraulics systems. Three pilots crash LANDED a DC-10 without the benefit of any controls except throttles saving 185 people. Those people should have died by all accounts, but the skill of the pilots and a bit of luck saved them.

        Then there was the recent double bird strike that lea

      • How many are killed without such foolishness?

        Flying has become so safe that pilot suicide is one of the major causes of major crashes. The other is pilot gross stupidity, often related to the use of partial automation with Auto throttle.

  • Luggage and cargo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hord ( 5016115 ) <jhord@carbon.cc> on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:45PM (#54959783)

    This could probably easily be done for FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc. Also, check your bags and they get put onto an auto-cargo jet while you get on a luxury cruiser with a pilot who parties with you. I'm into the future if this it.

    • No, it can't, and the simple reason why is: If it falls out of the sky, killing people on the ground, and it could have even POSSIBLY been avoided if there was a human pilot in the cockpit, then the automated system is not anywhere NEAR good enough to be trusted alone. A so-called 'autonomous car' running into a crowd of people is bad enough; now imagine a fully-loaded, fully-FUELLED cargo jet crashing into the ground in a residential area. Are you horrified? You should be.
  • HALF PRICE TICKETS because *mumble mumble autonomous mumble mumble*

    If you would just sign this stack of releases and waivers, we can go ahead and *send* this plane off the ground.

  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter.tedata@net@eg> on Monday August 07, 2017 @07:53PM (#54959885) Journal

    Then 54% are ignorant about the operations of a modern commercial airliner.

    The onboard computer systems already control the mechanical operation of the flaps, the rudder, ailerons, the stabalizers, the landing gear, the ventilation, hell, pretty much everything. A pilot's primary responsibility is managing and executing the decision-making. Yes, they can take manual control, but why, when the computer is much faster, more accurate, and more efficient? Just watch this video and hear a commercial pilot talk about how autopilot alone works [youtube.com]. All the pilot does is input all the data into the autopilot, setting the course heading, the speed, and the altitude, and autopilot does the rest.

    Pilot operations of commercial aircraft are very procedural, and it can very easily be converted into an algorithm managed by a computer. At the very least, it would not surprise me if, in the next 20 years, the FAA determines it's safe for computer automation to reduce the number of required pilots in an airplane from two to one.

    • In 2011, LOT Polish Airlines Flight 16 managed to belly flop onto the runaway without landing gears after repeated attempts were made to extend the faulty landing gears. A big part of the lack of major injuries was in the pilot's skill of handling the aircraft and adapting to the unexpected circumstances. It is likely that one day we'll have remote controlled planes or self-flying planes that can adapt to the unexpected better than a human being, but I'm very skeptical that can occur in my lifetime. Investo

    • Then 54% are ignorant about the operations of a modern commercial airliner.

      I suppose the other 46% of airline passengers are aerospace engineers? Who knows anything about technical operation of commercial airliners?

      The onboard computer systems already control the mechanical operation of the flaps, the rudder, ailerons, the stabalizers, the landing gear, the ventilation, hell, pretty much everything. A pilot's primary responsibility is managing and executing the decision-making. Yes, they can take manual control, but why, when the computer is much faster, more accurate, and more efficient?

      Full automation has a very long tail. It's on a relative basis easy to get it right most of the time. The challenge is getting it right all the time. Few have the requisite knowledge and experience to even reason about what that might entail.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Then 54% are ignorant about the operations of a modern commercial airliner.

      Not really. On any ordinary day I expect the plane can take off, follow the flight path and land without any problems. It's the extraordinary days I worry about.

      A pilot's primary responsibility is managing and executing the decision-making.

      Which is why there's three big issues I see:
      1. Loss of propulsion
      2. Loss of communication
      3. Loss of navigation

      If the plane is losing power, how does it try to make an emergency landing? If it can't contact the tower, what will it do? If it doesn't know where it is, how does it locate a landing site? The first one is real hard, you must know a lot mo

    • Many people aren't afraid to die. Some have deliberately committed suicide with plane loads of passengers. An autopilot can be programmed to be afraid to die all of the time - not so with humans.
  • Some faith in humanity restored..

    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.

    Yes, but: They're not perfect, and that's why you need skilled, experienced pilots in the cockpit, ready to take over when something goes wrong. Do any of you think, for instance, that any autopilot system on any aircraft could have done what Chesley Sullenberger did? Or would it just fall apart, and maybe everyone on that plane (and many on the ground) would have died that day? That's why we need human pilots -- and human drivers. Until we have human-level or better 'AI', n

    • by mhkohne ( 3854 )

      I'm with you on planes, not so much on cars. With a car 'just stop here' is almost always a safe failure mode, and a significant percentage of the drivers out there are complete morons who have no business walking around unaided, let alone piloting a full ton of fiberglass and sheet metal.

      I'm of the opinion we would do MUCH better with driverless cars because so many drivers are so damn bad that even with the inevitable failures of the AI, we'd kill far less people on the roads than we do now.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <<moc.cam> <ta> <rcj>> on Monday August 07, 2017 @08:06PM (#54959981) Journal

    Operate robotic cargo flights for a few years and a couple million takeoffs and landings, and there will be a quantifiable record of their performance in all sorts of conditions.

    Pretty hard to argue with going robotic once the record shows computers consistently outperforming human pilots.

    -jcr

    • All it would take is one crash, and there would be so much of hue and cry and always the impossible to answer hypothetical question, "Could a human pilot avoided the crash?"
  • Why not just leave the fuel on the ground too? That will save a bundle!

    We could dump seat belts, that seat back flotation device, emergency exits, fire extinguishers, evacuation slides and heck the seats too. All those things cost money. Who needs to maintain aircraft anyway? Do away with the mechanics and toss out all those spare parts in the inventory... Yea, that's the ticket.... Oh wait.. Tickets, we can do away with those too.... Selling those and collecting the money costs money you know...

  • Each episode looks at a crash, and then spends a considerable amount of time with NTSB or their foreign equivalent as they go through and figure out what went wrong and what we can do better. One thing in favor of automation is that some number of the crashes are the result of human error on the part of the flight crew. But the flip side of it is that there are really oddball mechanical failures that happen from time to time - survival depends on assessing what went wrong, and what actions on the part of
  • $35B/year - and this: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ai... [cbsnews.com] says there are just under 1B air passengers per year - saying that the pilot is costing each and every passenger ~$30 in salary, $3 in training and $1 in additional fuel costs - per trip.

    Sorry, that just isn't happening, especially on SouthWest and the other small jets.

  • What new career for a human pilot replaced by a machine? Are there any reusable skills?
  • by jacobsm ( 661831 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @09:00PM (#54960355)

    Earl Wiener, 55, a University of Miami professor of management science, telling the Airline Pilots Association (in jest) about 21st century aircraft:
    "The crew will consist of one pilot and a dog. The pilot will nurture and feed the dog. the dog will be there to bite the pilot if he touches anything.
    -- Fortune, Sept. 26, 1988

  • I bet if I could buy a bunch of autopiloted jumbo jets and I offered flights at less than half what my competitors charged I could fill them up. A lot of people wouldn't buy but enough would. Eventually it'd take over the skies.

  • Data is not there (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GumphMaster ( 772693 ) on Monday August 07, 2017 @09:55PM (#54960681)

    As someone that works in the area of providing data for air navigation I can unreservedly say that the data to support completely automated flight from off-blocks to on-blocks, is simply not there yet. Aviation is chock full or rules, exceptions, regulations, grey areas, short term changes, and unexpected events; all currently best dealt with using a Mk 1 Brain (two in most cases). Not to say it couldn't happen for a good chunk of regular passenger/freight transport between major, 1st world, domestic centres in the fullness of time. Aviation change moves on timescales of a decade or more, not months.

    Ultimately though, it is naive in the extreme to think you are going to save billions by not hiring pilots. All that experience has to get into aircraft and ground systems to make this work. That will not be happening as a matter of charity. What you save in pilots you lose in equipment costs, airway navigation and landing charges.

  • Bull Hooey getting pretty deep here! Pilots make so little that they have to get a second job to eat. They even had TV specials on it. I think they don't know where to put the decimal point $3,500.00 savings sounds more sane.
  • I am VERY willing to fly in a pilotless plane. Even if it cost more I'd prefer it... less chance of mistake or takeover.

    But I'm willing to go a step beyond - I'm willing to even fly in a PASSENGERLESS plane. Get rid of all the other passengers and I'll happily board. just say when.

  • That's according to Boeing.

    Flying high speed aircraft with meatbags behind the controls will someday disappear.

    Anyone want to know how SpaceX controls their very high speed rockets? Answer, entirely with computers. People are too slow, make too many mistakes and are best suited for sitting back in their seats and letting the software run the ship.

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