Student: Mengyu Wang, Undergraduate Student in Aerospace Engineering and Economics, Iowa State University
Research Mentor: Elizabeth Hoffman
Consumer Attitudes Toward Single Pilot Autonomous Commercial Aircraft and Self-Driving Cars
This project explores a question on the human side of aerospace engineering: can we convince consumers that autonomous commercial airliners will be safe?
In the near future, commercial airliners will be able to fly themselves. According to a report published by the National Academy of Engineering: “Ultimately, fully autonomous UAS operation will be both technologically feasible and safe. The only remaining issue will be overcoming public perceptions and lack of trust…”. A few surveys conducted on the matter have found generally negative responses toward autonomous commercial aircraft. Self-Driving cars, however, have received mostly positive responses. The evidence seems to indicate that autonomous technologies introduced in the context of cars is much more acceptable than when it is introduced in the context of aircraft. This begs the question: will our familiarity with self-driving cars eventually shift the consumer attitude paradigm for aircraft?
This study aims to answer that question through several treatments. In addition, we gathered demographic information about survey participants to better characterize existing consumer attitudes.