IFATS researchers are to carry out a major study to gauge public opinion on the concept of pilotless airliners under a French government-funded programme to start in January. The six-month study will be conducted by the French firm Erdyn Consultants and Onera, the French aerospace research agency.

Erdyn research leader Hélène Jacquet says the project is seen as an important part of advancing the IFATS concept, as "the risk of failure of such a system, due to a rejection of the solution by all the affected parties, is very high in this kind of project. Even the best technological answer is not enough to offer guarantees."

There will be a need to "educate and convince" the general public about air traffic management and the merits of pilotless aircraft, she says. "People have no idea today about how the system is working. Nobody knows about it, so it is very difficult to ask them about the future system."

Source: Flight International