Conference "Will Air Transport be Fully Automated by 2050? - Aims of the conference
Back to Academy website >>


Thanks to new technologies which improve safety and cost-effectiveness, air transport has emerged as one of the main economic and social drivers of the planet. Mechanical, thermodynamic and electronic technologies have been enriched by the digital and ICT revolution. The ensuing automated systems either substitute for certain human functions or profoundly modify those tasks still carried out by humans, particularly the onboard pilot. In fact, this evolution appears to make the machine more autonomous whereas it simply provides human operators with intelligent “prostheses” to enhance their physical and cognitive capacities, while leaving them squarely in control. Extending this evolution, in order to further enhance air transport efficiency, raises the question of the limits of this cooperation between automated systems and human operators. What happens for instance in the event of failure of an automated system? When and under what conditions can the human “supervisor” safely resume direct control of the aircraft?


The human role began to evolve when the crew was reduced to two pilots in commercial air transport. Now certain operations are being carried out by a single pilot on board and even by means of remote control from the ground. Growing numbers of air transport stakeholders will thus need to be interconnected for the transmission of data that is indispensable for a safe, efficient mission. These more automated planes will fly in a more and more complex operational universe requiring fully reliable communications. What goals should we be aiming at and can we attain them?

The conference will take an in-depth look into the possible limits of this evolution within the 2050 timeline.



This conference will continue work begun in three previous conferences organised by AAE, on the themes of “Aircraft and ATM Automation” in 2005, “Air transport pilots faced with the unexpected” in 2011 and “Flying in 2050” in 2012. For the last two, full proceedings and recommendations Dossier can be consulted or ordered on our website :


Logo AAE

Conference partners: