The following though occured to me one day.
Cars operate autonomously. Ships operate autonomously. Aircraft operate autonomously. They have air traffic control so they don't crash into each other, but that's it.
Spacecrafts are a different bunch. Even when they are crewed, they relay a complete telemetry back to Earth, and rely on an army of people down here to analyze it, find the problems and work out the solution. The crew is up there only to follow instructions not think for themselves. Even during Apollo, the primary navigation system was a ground-based radar.
On the other hand in the old sci-fi books, spacecrafts are treated as they were ships -- i.e. it's the crew supposed to be navigating solving problems, not the ground control.
One problem with keeping your support crew back on Earth is that it severely limits how many missions can be supported at the same time. So even if we could cheaply fly a lot of spacecrafts, we would become limited by the cost of control centers.
An interplanetary civilization would require a lot of spacecrafts flying around the Solar System every day -- too many to be practically controlled from the ground. These would necessarily have to be largely autonomous.
What do you think?