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Old 03-22-2019, 08:08 AM   #30  
Gets Weekends Off
Joined APC: Jan 2006
Posts: 222

Very interesting opinions all around. Definitely food for thought.

Will fully autonomous scheduled passenger flights going to happen in my lifetime? Probably not. The next generation - maybe, maybe not. Ever? Barring catastrophic extinction or near extinction of humanity and given infinite time, I think most likely, yes.

I still think that the likely first step will be ground based crews. Then technology will gradually take on more and more of the flying, until humans deal with emergencies only, and then eventually no humans.

It will be a slow and painful death of the profession, if you think about it - it will turn into a 9-5 job office job, the pilot pool will keep shrinking as technology takes on more and more of the flying, the morale will be low as a result, you will deal with more and more emergency type situations, all stress. Eventually there will only be a handful of pilots dealing with dire emergencies only. Then none.

Self-driving cars will be a precursor to that and it may happen in our lifetime. A lot less risk, regulation and cost involved. I haven't followed this closely, but if and when it happens this will kill millions of jobs in the USA and a lot more globally. And the jobs will go the way of the switchboard operators - very quickly - maybe within a decade. Goldman and Sachs estimate 300K job loses per year, and there are about 4 million driving jobs in the USA.

Scary to think of the social upheaval this may cause.
sgrd0q is offline