Have a fear of flying? Boeing is to start testing pilotless planes in 2018

Posted: 13 June 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

For those with a fear of flying, you may want to stop reading now – because from next year, one of the world’s largest airliners is to begin tests on pilotless planes.

The announcement was made by Boeing’s VP of future technologies Mike Sinnett during an interview with the Seattle Times this week, as part of new research.

According to Sinnett, tests will see intelligent computers taking over some of the decision making of a human pilot, with more details set to be revealed at the Paris Airshow on June 21.

Simulator tests with pilots using the AI technology are due to take place before the New Year ahead of being extended to real planes

“The basic building blocks of the technology are clearly available,” Sinnett told the publication. “There’s going to be a transition from the requirement to have a skilled aviator operate the airplane to having a system that operates the vehicle autonomously, if we can do that with the same level of safety, That’s a really big if.”

The thought process behind the research and trials, so says Sinnett, is down to an ever growing demand for flights – therefore more planes, but a shortage of pilots.

He said that Boeing, who builds plans for some of the biggest airline firms on the planet, predicts the number of commercial jets in use today will double over the next 20 years to above 40,000.

Addressing concerns around flying, Sinnett noted that in the US last year, there was not a single recorded on schedule flights (accident related), compared to more than 40,000 on US roads..

According to research from Stanford Law School, over 90% of road traffic accidents recorded each year, are caused by human error.





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