Drone Pilots to Control Four Planes at Once: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK4nh5I0jpE[/youtube]

So soon on the heels of this week’s disclosure that seventeen percent of US drone pilots show signs of clinical distress and the debacle of the RQ-170 Sentinel drone being recovered and put on display by Iran, today’s latest announcement on drones reads like a piece from The Onion or Andy Borowitz.  In what appears to be all seriousness, the US is looking into the possibility of single drone operators controlling as many as four drones at one time:

Western militaries are experimenting with having future drone pilots command up to four aircraft at once, adding new potential challenges even as a top-secret U.S. drone’s crash in Iran exposed the risks of flying unmanned aircraft thousands of miles away.

And why would such a foolish move be necessary?  Why, it all comes down to insatiable demand for drone use and a military that wants to cut back on costs:

To save money and make unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) less reliant on massive ground support crews, weapons manufacturers are working with military officials to develop more autonomous control systems and improve networking among planes.

At the moment, it can take hundreds of support staff on the ground to run a single drone for 24 hours, adding cost and complications at a time when budget-cutters are looking for billions of dollars of program cuts.

But new high-tech networking systems and ground stations in development would let a single pilot fly four drones, possibly even from different manufacturers, dramatically reducing the ground staff now needed for each plane.

Early work on such systems has been going on for some time, but heavy demand for more drones and mounting budget pressures are now bringing them closer to operational use.

If the US does institute such a foolish practice, let’s just hope none of the stressed out operators decide to channel their inner Charlie Callas.

Tweet about this on Twitter7Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook8Google+0Email to someone

24 Responses to Drone Pilots to Control Four Planes at Once: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz The last actual politician I ever saw give a damn about the outrageous+illegal PACER charges was Gelatinous Joe Lieberman, and he quit.
1mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz In light of OUTRAGEOUS page access fee, this is bullshit---> Federal Court Cases Removed from PACER http://t.co/6IcIw35lyn via @townnews
3mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Well, this is some Grade A bullshit RT @kimmurphy Tsarnaev sister arrested for making a bomb threat. http://t.co/eVns3Que6D
7mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel When was the last time a hack that was so vaguely defined get publicized by the FBI so obviously?
28mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Mom & spouse comparing notes abt programming in 1962. Both agree cybersecurity czar should know how to code.
33mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @chinahand: @JeffSharlet @Antiwar2 pre-Internet the mainstream press had oligopoly power over stories & reporters & they squandered it o…
34mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @MatPDouglas Of course not! But you WILL see dudes John McCain recently palled up with being accused of war crimes. Happens a lot lately.
38mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Everytime I see a John McCain pic now, I wonder, "Will we be at war w/this dude for crimes against humanity in 6 months."
41mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel He's now demanding more justification for withholding Abu Ghraib torture pics. https://t.co/vA6olhNeoR
43mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel In 2009 Judge Hellerstein went to some length (unsuccessfully) to force Exec to admit torture was done on POTUS authorization.
43mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @ddayen: David Chase just told me "whether that's really Jamie Dimon's Twitter account is besides the point."
49mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @WilliamOckhamTx Interesting point. Have you ever seen Vlad Putin and Jamie Dimon in the same place at the same time?
54mreplyretweetfavorite
December 2011
S M T W T F S
« Nov   Jan »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031