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Airbus to develop autonomous aircraft

Airbus Group SE is planning to develop autonomous aircraft and technologies that will enable a single pilot to operate commercial jetliners, Bloomberg News reported.

"We're pursuing single-pilot operation as a potential option and a lot of the technologies needed to make that happen has also put us on the path towards unpiloted operation," Chief Technology Officer Paul Eremenko told Bloomberg Television.

Airbus will also set up an innovation center in Shenzhen, China, to explore technologies that would increase automation in the cockpit of planes. This will help address pilot shortages in countries like China.

Eremenko said talks are underway with Chinese firms such as Baidu Inc. to look for ways to apply self-driving vehicles to commercial planes.

Eremenko said the industry needs to find ways to produce more cockpit crew, saying only 200,000 pilots trained since the aviation industry began. Boeing estimates 637,000 pilots will be needed in the next two decades to fly commercial aircraft globally, Bloomberg News reported.