New UBS report reveals pilotless aircraft could save airlines $35bn a year


A new report from Switzerland-based investment bank UBS has revealed that airlines could save more than $35bn per annum by introducing pilotless aircraft.

The report noted that air taxis and cargo aircraft would be the first to deploy pilotless flight, followed by business jets, helicopters and commercial passenger airlines, reported the Verge.

According to the report, commercial airline companies could save $26bn in pilot cost savings.

"It is likely we would initially see cargo the first subsector to adopt new related technologies."

Commercial aircraft have already started using onboard computers and technology, including the autopilot system, to perform various tasks.

In the report, UBS analysts were quoted by media source as saying: “The opportunity, we believe, would be dependent on the timing of the roll-out of pilotless planes and we think it is likely we would initially see cargo the first subsector to adopt new related technologies, with the number of pilots falling from two to one and eventually from one to none.”

A recent UBS Evidence Lab Survey, which saw participation from 8,000 people, found that 54% of respondents refused to take a pilotless flight while only 17% showed an interest.

The survey also found that younger participants aged between 18 and 34 years were more inclined to undertake a pilotless flight, with 30% willing to try the new experience.

The report noted that pilotless flights will also have to overcome 'design, security and technological challenges' besides regulation.