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.

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel I mean, I'll grant you, it IS well-documented that top CIA officials lie to FBI serially and with impunity. Why are we yawning abt that?
56sreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Those saying Petraeus copped to a crime everyone commits: Are you all you DC insiders admitting you've lied to FBI too?
2mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @armandodkos Which I can say bc I've been writing abt email problems IN DEPTH for over a decade.
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emptywheel @armandodkos No. I've got my position on story: anyone whining abt Hillary--and not email generally--is a fucking hack.
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emptywheel @armandodkos I did a half second google search bc that's all that was needed to prove your claim as made was false. Make a smarter claim!
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bmaz @ThePlumLineGS Relieved! But, seriously, with Roberts, it is hard to tell if he is really thinking that way or just exploring. Hard read.
5mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @armandodkos Oh. In the 5 minutes since you claimed no one had covered it? Adept!
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bmaz @randiego2 @ThePlumLineGS Jesus, this one woman is just bawling that she gave up her life+it was all a waste because they DIDN'T KILL HER
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emptywheel @apblake If I were EPIC I'd at least ask for comment on how she can be sure relying on 10 month old declarations.
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emptywheel @apblake Judge addresses that. Says stuff that has been released should be turned over in full. But still backs investigation long-standing.
8mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @armandodkos Like I said. I'm FAR MORE INTERESTED in solving serial problem, fr Hillary, Jeb, W, Yoo, IRS, everyone. Anything less idiotic
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emptywheel @armandodkos Call me crazy then. I think fucking morons that are hung up on poor embattled Hillary & not serial problem of email are idiots.
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