Airbus Wants to Introduce Pilotless Jets to the Skies

P. Pigeyre/Master Films/Courtsey Airbus

According to the company, autonomous planes are closer to reality than we think.

It seems every notable Sci-Fi film manages to include some scene featuring an autonomous vehicle; usually something with wings. Spoiler: This technology already exists, according to Christian Scherer, the chief salesman for Airbus. The Daily Mail reports that the company is ready to start introducing pilotless jets into the market, but there’s one catch: People are too afraid of them to actually get on a plane sans pilot.

Scherer spoke with The Associated Press earlier this week and shared that the main goal now is to win over travelers. The hope is for the company to start selling hybrid and/or electric passenger plans before 2035. “When can we introduce it in large commercial aircraft? That is a matter we are discussing with regulators and customers, but technology-wise, we don't see a hurdle,” Scherer said to The Associated Press.

Safety, of course, is a concern when it comes to unmanned airplanes. When asked about the recent Boeing 737 Max crashes, Scherer spoke on the importance of making sure safety is first when it comes to the autonomous planes he’s encouraging. Specifically that the recent crash “highlighted and underlined the need for absolute, uncompromising safety in this industry, whether from Airbus, Boeing or any other plane. There is a capacity need that materialized as a result of this, and naturally, you have airlines that are frustrated over capacity, that are looking for answers.” He’s not wrong: It certainly would help alleviate the issues of overbooked flights.

Turns out, there are a lot of companies with pilotless planes on the mind. The Paris Air Show has been a showcase of a few different pilot-free aircrafts from a handful of manufacturers. All excitement and technology advancements aside, it’s safe to say we won’t be seeing any pilotless planes in the air anytime in the very near future.