Would you get on a pilotless plane? These people would

Key Points
  • Men more likely than women to get on a plane with no pilot.
  • Cheaper tickets not seen as a worthy incentive.
  • Only one in five across whole survey would trust pilotless plane.
No need for a pilot?
Robert Hackel | EyeEm | Getty Images

Young, well-educated American males are the most comfortable with the idea of traveling by a pilotless plane, according to a new UBS survey of 5,000 people.

The study is an expansion on the UBS note released earlier this month that suggested the aviation industry could save $35 billion a year by ditching on-board human control.

In a section dedicated to public perception, UBS reported that fewer than one-in-five of the respondents (17 percent) said they would get on a flight with no pilot.

However, it seemed Americans are more gung-ho about the idea than some other nations.

"There are slight differences among countries, with a greater percentage of respondents in the U.S. willing to take pilotless flights (27 percent), compared with other countries," the study claimed.

"French and German respondents are the most unlikely to take a flight with no pilot."

NASSER YOUNES | AFP | Getty Images

The UBS study found people aged between 18 and 34 who held higher levels of education were more likely to step on to a remote controlled aircraft. UBS interpreted this as a positive for pilotless technology as the population ages.

Other sections more likely to fly pilotless included business travellers, retired or self-employed people and those who book travel by email or at the counter.

Women were less likely than men to fly without a pilot, as were students, the unemployed and people who book travel over the phone.

The research team found any reluctance to fly remotely was not eased by the promise of lower cost.

"UBS Evidence Lab also asked respondents how much cheaper a pilotless flight ticket would need to be for them to fly on a regular flight without pilots," the report added.

"Perhaps surprisingly, half of the respondents said that they would not buy the pilotless flight ticket even if it was cheaper."

In June, Boeing stated that it was looking into the concept of pilotless technology.