While I’m not sure myself that the EM drive actually works, the authors of the recently published EM Drive paper promote a realist interpretation of QM in order to explain the EM Drive’s thrust.
In the approach used in the quantum vacuum plasma thruster (also known as a Q thruster) supporting physics models, the zero point field (ZPF) plays the role of the guiding wave in a similar manner to the vacuum-based pilot-wave theories. To be specific, the vacuum fluctuations (virtual fermions and virtual photons) serves as the dynamic medium that guides a real particle on its way. ...... If the vacuum is indeed mutable and degradable as was explored, then it might be possible to do/extract work on/from the vacuum, and thereby be possible to push off of the quantum vacuum and preserve the laws of conservation of energy and conservation of momentum.
Is this publicity a good or bad thing?
This widely distributed paper puts the ideas of realist interpretations of QM in the news, as evidenced by articles here, here and here. That’s good in my opinion, as more eyes on the field, the better. Some may think that conflating the EM Drive with an emergent quantum mechanics will only harm the field once the EM Drive is put to rest in a few more years, but that’s not how publicity works.
My take on the EM Drive
There has been a lot of action about these drives over the past decade or two. I am totally open to new ‘unexplained’ physics, but one wonders why this phenomena has not been experimentally accepted after all this time and energy. For reference’s sake, a long awaited upheaval of physics may come from an unexplained yet established result along these lines, but Kuhn’s ideas suggest that well established theories can explain any result, and so we may instead have to look for theories that provide simpler explanations for established experimental results.