Are unmanned flights the future trend?
Friday, April 3, 2015
In light of the Germanwings tragedy in the French Alpes, experts have gone as far as suggest that within a few years, there won’t be anybody inside the cockpit anymore. But will people agree to board unmanned aircrafts? Let’s weigh the pros & cons.
Unmanned aircraft programs are already in use
NASA & Google are already developing projects for unmanned aircrafts or single pilot cockpits with grounded co-pilots who would be able to control several planes simultaneously. This ground controller would also be able to take over the airplane if needed. However, this raises another question: If a single person is able to control a dozen planes thanks to software, what would terrorist hackers be able to do?
Would you trust a robot?
Automating the co-pilot job might enable airlines to save money. However, humans have what robots don’t, instinct & free will which will make the difference in the event of critical situations. There will always be exceptional emergency situations and one cannot (yet) trust a robot make such crucial decisions.
Real money savings?
In terms of cost savings, the amount saved on pilots’ wages would have to be invested in R&D as well as in modifying existing planes to adapt to this expensive technology. It is therefore questionable whether or not this new trend will in fact cut costs.