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Matt Ridley, the “rational optimist”, forecasts the inevitability of pilotless transport

Matt Ridley speakerWriting for The Times, Matt Ridley, best-selling author of “The Rational Optimist” (2010), argues that “irrational fears” about pilotless transport must eventually give way to the evidence that they are better and safer. Consequently, he predicts that “we will embrace the inevitability of pilotless aeroplanes at some point in the not so distant future.”

This forecast rests on the fact that “human error is the largest cause of crashes in the sky, as it is on the ground.” Matt contends that driverless ground transport, such as Google’s prototype driverless car and the continued development of driverless trains, are proving better and safer than anybody expected, and will help to assuage our fears.

In the air, Matt demonstrates that small drones are now commonplace and not just in the military. He believes that the next step would be that cargo planes would fly without human beings aboard.  This is because if pilotless planes can fly safely for years without passengers, objections to them carrying passengers will gradually fade.

So, are we approaching the era when it will be more reassuring to know that there is not a human being in the cockpit than to know that there is? Click here to read the full story (paywall).

For more information, or to book Matt Ridley as a keynote speaker for your conference or event, please contact Alex Hickman at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8004.

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