Autonomous Vehicles Research Answers the Question: Are Consumers Ready for Autonomous Aircraft?

63% of consumers say they would probably be willing to fly in an autonomous taxi aircraft

Are you ready to hop into a fully autonomous aircraft in your lifetime?

Well if you follow the trend, then you’re going to say “yes,” along with 70% of respondents from an autonomous vehicles research study commissioned by ANSYS.

ANSYS’ Global Autonomous Vehicle Study looks into how the world’s consumers are warming up to self-flying vehicles.

“The findings of this autonomous vehicles research are encouraging for the entire aerospace industry — people are ready for a new era of air travel,” said Eric Bantegnie, vice president and general manager of the ANSYS Systems Business Unit. “Digital safety solutions will play a major role for manufacturers meeting customer demand. ANSYS enables faster, more effective testing and validation — empowering industry leaders to bring autonomous aircraft to market faster and more safely.”

The best way for engineers to design and prove autonomous aircraft technology is with ANSYS pervasive engineering simulation technology. These simulations will help engineers ensure their sensors, software and artificial intelligence will be able to safely navigate any environment or situation.

Autonomous Vehicles Research Survey Results for the Aerospace Industry

Study suggests that people are ready for autonomous aircraft.

ANSYS commissioned an independent creative market research agency, Atomik Research, to survey over 22,000 adults above the age of 18 from regions around the world

The research was conducted in April and May of 2019, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s guidelines and regulations. The survey’s error was +/- 2% with a confidence level of 95%.

Some of the most interesting findings from the survey include:

  • Timeline — 58% are willing to fly on an autonomous aircraft in the next decade while 12% want to wait longer than a decade. Therefore, 70% are willing to fly autonomous within their lifetime.
  • Age disparity — 83% of people aged 18 to 24 years are willing to fly in autonomous aircraft within their lifetimes, compared to 45% of respondents over 65-years old.
  • Areas of high confidence — 71% are confident with autonomous takeoffs and 76% are confident with autonomous landings.
  • Greatest concerns with autonomous flights — 65% say they are most concerned with technology failure, while 57% cite concerns with the autopilot responding to external conditions, such as bad weather and turbulence.
  • Knowledge of autonomous aircraft — 7% are aware of the current state of autonomy in modern aircraft. When informed that typically only the first and last 10-minutes of a flight are manually controlled — and the rest is controlled by human-supervised autopilots — 36% say they would feel safer in a fully autonomous aircraft.
  • Security — 39% believe autonomous aircraft are the hardest technology to hack, compared to 27% saying bank accounts, 17% saying smartphones, 14% saying computers and 12% saying autonomous cars are the hardest to hack.
  • Short range of flights — 63% say they would probably be willing to fly in an autonomous taxi aircraft.

How to Design Autonomous Aircraft that Meet Customer Expectations

Simulation enables engineers to design autonomous aircraft.

Safety is the key concern when engineers design any aircraft. However, once aircraft become more autonomous, safety will be ever more important.

The Global Autonomous Vehicle Study finds that consumers are willing to accept autonomous aircraft, but they are concerned with how these systems will respond to possible failures and environmental conditions.

Engineers are tasked to prove the safety of autonomous vehicles, but this is challenging because autonomous aircraft require engineers to integrate a range of complex systems — like sensors, flight control systems and artificial intelligence. For engineers to prove that these complex aircraft are safe, they must test them extensively in every conceivable scenario.

ANSYS pervasive engineering simulation technology is able to identify an autonomous aircraft’s potential sources of failure and test them through hundreds of millions of simulated miles of flight. When engineers test aircraft physically, they cannot guarantee that every conceivable scenario has been tested to a statistical level of confidence. With simulation, engineers can set up any of these scenarios and test them in a fraction of a time it would take to test physically.

Above all, the ANSYS integrated platform enables engineers to understand the behavior of the entire system. For instance, ANSYS pervasive engineering simulation can help engineers understand:

  • When the control system takes inputs from sensors
  • When the control system reacts to obstacles, weather or failures
  • How the vehicle is influenced by wind and turbulence

Simulation make it faster and affordable to explore new aerospace and defense ideas. These ideas enhance the safety of our skies and make the dream of autonomous flying a reality.

To learn how ANSYS contributes to the future of aviation, read: Accelerating Digital Transformation in Aerospace and Defense, or the infographic below:

Autonomous Vehicles Research Answers the Question: Are Consumers Ready for Autonomous Aircraft?