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The Military Input Devices Technology

Hit the Wrong Button, Drone Goes Boom 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-controller-ran-out-of-batteries dept.
ios and web coder writes "An article at Ars notes, 'Unmanned aircraft crash. In fact, they crash a lot—though there's no recent specific data, the Congressional Research Service reported last year that despite improvements, "the accident rate for unmanned aircraft is still far above that of manned aircraft.' And while many of those accidents can be attributed to being exposed to hostile fire or operating in conditions when aircraft normally wouldn't, a significant percentage of drone crashes is caused by human error. A December 2004 FAA study of Defense Department drone crashes found human factors to be a causal factor in about a third of the cases they examined (PDF).' Drones are un-cheap. As yesterday's Super Hornet story noted, they are cheaper than manned planes... but not that much cheaper. Expect them to get more expensive. Also, as they get armed, the price paid for a bad UX decision could become quite tragic."
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Hit the Wrong Button, Drone Goes Boom

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  • Incentive (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2013 @06:09PM (#43050361)

    "the accident rate for unmanned aircraft is still far above that of manned aircraft.'

    In addition to being cheaper, unmanned aircraft have no people on them. So much less of an incentive to worry about safety.

    Until the fall on someone's head, that is.

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday March 01, 2013 @06:27PM (#43050505)

    One third is a surprisingly low percentage. The number of manned small plane crashes caused by human error is probably close to two thirds.

    So while I'm sure lot could be done to improve the ergonomics of the pilot, it sounds like the drones' mechanical failure rate is a more worrying problem.

  • Re:Un-word (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday March 01, 2013 @06:29PM (#43050539) Homepage Journal

    "Un-cheap" is not a word. TFS should say "not cheap".

    Sigh...

    if only you were right... [wikipedia.org]

  • by icebike (68054) on Friday March 01, 2013 @06:46PM (#43050695)

    It's "Death from Above due to incompetence" too? That makes me feel so much better.

    The study was done in 2004, nearly a decade ago, and most of the flights during that time were with much earlier
    models than available today.

    Still you have to worry about what happens when every Barney Fife from your local sheriff department can run one of these
    with 10 hours training.

  • Re:I know why. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday March 01, 2013 @09:07PM (#43051575) Journal

    I don't know how much of it is that or the fact the drones just don't give you the feedback a real plane does. I have a friend who is a pilot and he's taken me up a few times and he KNOWS exactly what is going on with the plane just by sound and feel. he knows what each and every vibration is and whether it is correct or an indicator of something wrong simply because he knows the planes he flies like the back of his hand. I have heard the same thing from military pilots, that they knew their F4 or F15 like its a part of them and could tell instantly when "something wasn't right" just by what the plane was telling them via sound or vibration.

    With the drone you are really only getting video, maybe sound, you certainly aren't getting all the feedback a true pilot gets when they sit in the seat of a real aircraft. Now maybe they will find ways to fix this, maybe computers that will take over if something is going wrong, who knows, but I wouldn't be so quick to blame the pilots when we really are in the most early infancy of the tech.

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