Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


There has been much previous research on cultural differences between the United States and India, as well as some research on consumer attitudes towards auto-pilots in commercial airlines. However, to date, there has been no research that examines how passengers from different countries feel about auto-pilots and remote-controlled (RC) pilots in commercial aircraft, or how they feel about their co-workers or children flying in these situations. The current study manipulates both the type of pilot (human pilot, auto-pilot, and RC pilot) and the passenger (participant, child of participant, or work colleague) and examines three different dependent variables (comfort level, trust and willingness to fly). The results are straightforward. All participants were more negative about the auto-pilot and RC pilot compared to the human pilot. All participants were more negative about themselves or their children flying compared to their colleagues. Indians were less extreme in their views compared to Americans. Finally, the implications of this research are discussed.