Five updates on driverless vehicles as pilot-less planes could be introduced within next 50 years

By Sean Galea-Pace
The Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, confirmed that he believes there will be pilot-less planes in operation within the next 50 years. Research by Swiss...

The Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, confirmed that he believes there will be pilot-less planes in operation within the next 50 years. Research by Swiss bank, UBS, found that only 17% of travellers would be willing to fly without a pilot but Mr O’Leary believes substantially reduced ticket prices will “probably dispel those fears,” Business Insider Australia reports.

Following that news, Manufacturing Global looks at five updates of driverless technology that could soon be realised in the near future.

1. Planes

The prospect of pilot-less planes has been gathering a considerable amount of momentum in recent times with Mr O’Leary’s admission that pilot-less planes will be in the sky within the next 40-50 years accelerating that belief. Uber hopes to unveil flying taxis in cities around the world by 2023, with the company anticipating to launch demonstration flights as early as 2020, CBC reports.

2. Taxis

In August, a self-driving taxi took passengers across Tokyo which raised hopes that the service could be used in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The road tests were the first in the world to trial the driverless taxis and introduce fare-paying passengers, The Guardian reports.

3. Minivans

The automotive giants, Toyota, and ridesharing company, Uber, are significantly increasing their efforts to develop autonomous vehicles. Toyota are set to invest $500mn into the project and will utilise Uber’s driving technology based on a number of its Sienna minivans. Pilot trials are expected to begin in 2021.

4. Trains

In March, London saw the world’s first driverless train in operation as the Govia Thameslink (GTR) train utilised the Automatic Train Operation system. It works in combination with trackside signals which feedback information via the new European Train Control System.

5. Cars

Driverless cars have already started to be developed by global automotive companies such as Mercedes, BMW and Lexus with testing thought to be at an advanced testing stage. According to The Guardian, it is the hope of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, that fully autonomous vehicles will be on the UK’s roads by 2021.


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