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Can automated systems deal with unique events?

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Can automated systems deal with unique events?

Old 30th Oct 2015, 07:52
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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Phoenix


You are using the video examples as a "the computer has to be as good as this" to be suitable to take the job.

Those videos are almost entirely flukes.

The sad reality is that most such events with human drivers end in bent metal and lives lost.

Why do you hold a computer to a higher standard?

Reality of human drivers


The other thing to take away from those videos is that in almost all the cases we saw, the human was driving at totally inappropriate speed for the conditions.

A computer can be programmed to not do that.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 08:06
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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Watson, I presume ...

It's been a common theme over the last few decades that computers become more talented than humans in various areas of endeavour. This will doubtless continue and flying will be no different.

One example is Watson, a development by IBM. In its first public outing it beat off human experts in the American quiz show, Jeopardy. It's being developed now in other areas such as a diagnostic aid for doctors, helping utilities forecast and deliver power and so on. Most important, Watson is a learning system; it adapts as new information comes its way.

It's been reported in these fora and elsewhere that in some emergencies, some pilots have been so intent on what they are doing that they miss other critical signals. This is human failing is, perhaps, best illustrated in the basketball test.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo

In day-to-day flying conditions, human pilots have huge inputs not available to computers: windows, seat-of-the-pants, speech input from others (ATC reporting something flying off the aircraft at take-off). This will change: computers are increasingly adept at understanding natural language (a feature of Watson) for example and cheap and reliable sensors are being placed everywhere.

I have no doubt that computer systems will, over the next decade or two, become so deft that pilots (and doctors and others) will find it increasingly difficult to justify their roles.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 08:09
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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Standard toaster. Yes, Sully would have been able to do what he did in direct law with no problem. Any competent pilot should be able to do the flying part as well as he did. The judgement part on deciding exactly where to navigate to given his altitude, speed and options for touchdown point he could just as easily have done in any Boeing product flying manually. No computer could be programmed for every conceivable condition.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 09:19
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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I'm coming to this late in the game. Already I notice Sully's scenario cropping up in more recent posts where a human made judgements in a unique/extremely highly improbable scenario that automatics could not have catered for. True; and there are others I can think of where it was a human who saved the day after the manure hit the air conditioning, unexpectedly.
RYR into CIA. Short finals bird strike known on 1 engine; PF initiated a G/A, 2nd engine coughed & nearly died. Captain took control and plonked the a/c unceremoniously on the runway. A/C broken, all survived. Any slower thinking system/human would have made a burning hole in Rome.
Transatlantic glider. Human error in maintenance caused the initial problem. Lack of human monitoring compounded it when the 1st error caused a major problem; human skill resolved it. I doubt any automated system would have saved the day.
While it might be true that humans from all links in the chain are the largest numerical cause of incidents/accidents I wonder how many more were avoided by timely human intervention as a preventative force? Automatics, and sadly too often humans, act in only a reactive manner. This constant thinking about the future, what if I do this then what, choice selection at a phenomenal rate based on experience; this is what good human operators can do. Can automatics?
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 09:32
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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The Sully Scenario

A lot has been made of this. Let's look at it from the point of view of a computer program. It would go roughly like this:

a. Can I maintain altitude? No: branch to landing routine.

b. Landing routine: which airports of sufficient size can I reach? None: branch to Forced landing routine.

c. Forced Landing routine: Of the places I can reach, which poses the least hazard? List, evaluate, sort.

d. Choose least hazardous area.

Now none of this is impossible to program with today's technology. That's not a criticism of Sully: his cool evaluation of alternatives and calm actions were outstanding.

But it is entirely possible to build computer programs that would perform no worse.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 09:50
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by bubbers44
Standard toaster. Yes, Sully would have been able to do what he did in direct law with no problem. Any competent pilot should be able to do the flying part as well as he did.
How can you be so sure?
In Direct Law the plane behaves differently of what the pilot is used to, so...

Originally Posted by bubbers44
The judgement part on deciding exactly where to navigate to given his altitude, speed and options for touchdown point he could just as easily have done in any Boeing product flying manually.
Once again, maybe, maybe not.
Matter of fact is that in the case of Sully, protections were activated. If they were not, they plane would have stalled. Or did he fly in a way that forced them to activate because he knew he was in Normal Law?

Originally Posted by bubbers44
No computer could be programmed for every conceivable condition.
And they don't have to be programmed to respond to every conceivable situation, they just need to be programmed to stay out of those situations in the first place.
What most people fail to understand (or simply don't want to), is that the human/s in the cockpit is responsible for the crashes most of the time. The human is the weakest link, that's it. And it's not only in flying, but driving and so on.

And to the opponents of automation, the automation has to be perfect in order to replace the human. Well, that's impossible, but isn't it enough to be much better?
Let me give you an example: the self driving car. If all cars were self driven, what would be the accident rate? Extremely low. But would it be zero? No, because that's impossible. So, if the rate is not zero, is that a reason to rule out the technology? Of course not.

The same applies to the aviation. When automation is discussed, there is a trend to give examples of the exception, when the human "saved the day" not the norm, when the human caused the crash.

Regards
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 11:14
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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There's a salient point that the robot lovers are missing and its quite simple:



Automation is designed, programmed and built by humans who are not and never will be perfect so automation itself can never be either.



It's quite alarming how many 'pilots' place so much faith in it.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 12:15
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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I think we will soon see more automation, like TCAS RA integration with flight automation (already exists, eg in Bristows EC225).

True "artificial intelligence" is on the US Navy wish list for their future F/A-XX, probably some kind of decision aid, but it's not yet clear how or what exactly. They have the budgets though, and aren't constrained by certification issues.

TCAS began as a decision aid, and will get automated. I could imagine similar developments in other areas of civil aviation, eg enhanced awareness / moving ground maps / synthetic vision for taxiing could at some point get interfaced with brakes.

Last edited by deptrai; 30th Oct 2015 at 12:30.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 12:23
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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Tourist,
The other thing to take away from those videos is that in almost all the cases we saw, the human was driving at totally inappropriate speed for the conditions.
A computer can be programmed to not do that.
Yes the speeding is the principal factor for accidents.
Not necessarily your fully automated car would protect you if another car will smash in you.
All cars should be equipped with speed limiter. It can be override, but automatically a ticket will be issued.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 12:46
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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It's an interesting debate but a historical approach clearly indicates that more automation leads to more safety. One examines the accidents due to pilot error and as the function is taken out of the pilot's hands they reduce. I am also interested by the assertion that pilots are better suited to deal with the totally unexpected incidents. This really qualifies as blind faith. There is nothing in the record to indicate that pilots are indeed, uniquely qualified to deal with such situations. In fact evidence indicates that they are singularly ill-equipped to handle such situations. That being said totally automated flight is a bit away but one can indeed look forward to it.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 13:09
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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There is a salient point that the anti-computerisation lobby is missing.

It's that computer systems that learn can learn faster and more rigorously than any human. Combine that with an ability to process far more data, far more swiftly and most human roles are at risk.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 13:21
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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Having watched my a330 autothrust spectacularly fail to deal with some mountain wave activity last week, the answer is a definite NO!
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 13:50
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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You mean like
... or don't hold a A330 in a stall until it hits the water?
I'm actually struggling to think of an accident recently where a computer wouldn't have been better.
Actually it was the computer, not the pilot trimming the aircraft full nose up... No pilot ever did this before.
A computer alone would not have caused this accident
A pilot alone would not have caused this accident
It required some misunderstanding on both sides to cause it.

Which probably is part of the issue. A mix of both is not the best solution, however there are still situations where pilots alone have already demonstrated to be able to handle it, while computers have not. So computer alone is no option yet.
Look at the accident statistics of pilotless aviation systems, they are by far inferior (currently). The question however was, can automated systems one day deal with any event. In the future if will be mainly the question, how much am I willing to pay for computers and which failure rate will I accept.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 14:00
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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msjh
You make an excellent point which reinforces my rather sarcastic post about three pages back . this said the threat to pilots from computers is not them taking over the flight deck but taking over all the jobs that justify business and first class air travel.
No more bankers- dead easy to replace them, no more lawyers-same, no more financial 'professionals' in fact no more jobs at all for professionals who just talk and do not do actually do anything.

The jobs that cannot be replaced of course are plumbers, installation techs , domestic cleaners etc but with no well off middle class to pay them anymore even those people are no longer needed. Pretty bleak world
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 16:25
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by macdo View Post
Having watched my a330 autothrust spectacularly fail to deal with some mountain wave activity last week, the answer is a definite NO!
Exactly!

Just because a A330 is very old tech is no reason not to base all assumptions in it's abilities despite the fact that technology has moved on......

No, wait.....
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 16:29
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by stilton View Post
There's a salient point that the robot lovers are missing and its quite simple:

Automation is designed, programmed and built by humans who are not and never will be perfect so automation itself can never be either.

It's quite alarming how many 'pilots' place so much faith in it.
Again, why are you attempting to hold the computers to a higher standard than human pilots?


Nothing will ever be perfect, I'm sure some of the early versions will have horrendous accidents. This is true of all new tech, yet somehow we always manage to advance through the teething troubles.

Out of interest, does your car have ABS?

Early ABS was pretty poor. A pretty good driver was better. Modern ABS? There is a reason it is banned from formula 1.

Perfect enough.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 16:30
  #117 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Volume View Post
Actually it was the computer, not the pilot trimming the aircraft full nose up... No pilot ever did this before.
A computer alone would not have caused this accident
A pilot alone would not have caused this accident
It required some misunderstanding on both sides to cause it.
No, the computer knew it was stalled all the way down.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 16:39
  #118 (permalink)  
 
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I've said this before, but I think it's worth reiterating.

I'm not a "computer lover"

I gave up an airline job flying airbus because I didn't enjoy the feeling of uselessness/interfering.

I now fly an aircraft with no automation.

It needs me. I far prefer it.

I would like to be proved wrong and it never to happen, in fact I'd like an excuse to go back to steam driven cockpits for all aircraft, but I hear no valid arguments that persuade me on the technical front.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 17:28
  #119 (permalink)  
 
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When doing a forced landing, is the aircraft equipped with sensors to allow it to spot the optimum spot to land given that there may be traffic on the ground? In picking which patch of water, would the computer be able to see all the boats/ferries/whatever? If deciding to land on a highway, could it do its best to pick an empty patch and be mindful of lamp posts and other street furniture?

As for the transatlantic glider, one of the issues with that was that it was necessary for the flight crew to do all the fuel calculations, I understand that the software was modified after that incident so that it will flag an alert if the apparent rate of consumption is higher than can be explained by the engine settings.

Having the computers run checks and at least ask "are you sure?" would prevent some things happening. Wasn't there one crash where the autopilot got programmed for constant rate of climb and did its best, right up until it stalled. Ideally it should have queried whether the programming was sensible or not so the pilot could review what he'd just asked for and why it didn't think it was a good idea.
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Old 30th Oct 2015, 17:55
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by llondel View Post
When doing a forced landing, is the aircraft equipped with sensors to allow it to spot the optimum spot to land given that there may be traffic on the ground? In picking which patch of water, would the computer be able to see all the boats/ferries/whatever? If deciding to land on a highway, could it do its best to pick an empty patch and be mindful of lamp posts and other street furniture?
Yes, the technology exists, has been trialled (see my link previously to the autonomous trial Blackhawk)

Incidentally, it could do it in the dark or IMC too....

Re forced landings, you get what you are given.

If there had been boats on the river, Sully would have hit them. His choices were limited.
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