Pilotless Planes may be closer than We think


Autonomous planes may be just a few years away. But they won't replace the current airline industry if the flying public doesn't trust it.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Professor Stephen Rice says we've come a long way with driverless cars.

"Five or six years ago my data was showing that people were not willing to even think about that, but now we have Uber in Pittsburgh."

Uber has been experimenting with headless cars in Pittsburgh and Professor Rice says same needs to be done with planes.

"If you automate the cargo airlines and let's say they run for five or six years without any incident then that gives the public some assurance there is a safety record there."

Professor Rice says headless planes may be safer than headless cars because there's a lot less traffic in the sky.

"Run that for three or four years, just to make sure everything works smoothly, get all the bugs out; you let the public know that this is indeed safe, this will be okay and I think over time the public will go along."

Professor Rice says they can choose a route over mostly uninhabited territory -- like Alaska -- and prove headless planes can be trusted.


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