The idea of pilotless aircraft is already being used in drones, but has yet to full be implemented into commercial aviation. Computers have contributed to the pilot's workload of guiding planes to their destination and there has been some date and proposals made for aircraft to be free of human control. Thus, does this mean we should allow pilotless planes to be used widely in commercial aircraft?

As of now, pilots are still needed to operate aircraft during takeoff, flight, and landing. While it was conceived that pilots could operate from a control tower instead of inside the aircraft, this change would be a huge investment and require huge revisions of protocol on a flight. Despite UBS saying that pilotless planes could save Industry $35 billion dollars, with so much transition and overhaul there’s bound to be several stresses, accidents, mishaps, and inconveniences to happen which could outweigh the benefits. Anything as that can amount to a mistake on the computer’s part will cause a lot of public distrust.

Another factor is that several people aren’t too keen on flying in a pilotless aircraft - in survey conducted by UBS, half of the participants refused to take a pilotless flight despite being explained it could be a tenth of the cost for taking a piloted aircraft. UBS is optimistic that halfway through the century, people will welcome pilotless aircraft more; Airbus and Boeing are already testing and improving their simulators and autonomous programming .Due to technological advancements, only two pilots are required to operate an aircraft as opposed to three. UBS proposes the idea of having one pilot in the air and another on the ground in the next decade to ease the transition.

Fully pilotless aircraft may mean certain things for different people in the aviation industry. Some airlines may either refuse or not be able to incorporate pilotless planes into their fleet. Aircraft interior and technology would be overhauled, so suppliers would need to look out for any opportunities for airlines looking to afford new parts. Passengers, pilots, and aviation bloggers alike have strong feelings over pilotless aircraft. Some see it as safer alternative to piloted aircrafts, others see it as over-optimistic proposal that doesn’t take it’s flaws into account such as the long transitions, what could go wrong, and who has a lot to lose from this human-technology transition.

As of now so much of this pilotless plane development is up in the air, that no one is sure of how to integrate it into our industry while UBS hopes that people will eventually feel more comfortable about pilotless planes as time goes on. Despite already being a topic of hot debate for the past days, the idea of flying on a pilotless aircraft has yet to fully take off beyond drones.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/07/air-passengers-pilotless-planes-fares-ubs
http://aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/pilotless-commercial-aircraft-follow-money?page=2
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/07/pilotless-planes-what-you-need-to-know