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Old 7th Dec 2017, 00:45   #41 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by msbbarratt View Post


Vanity is a dangerous thing in this business, and it's present in the self driving car industry. To illustrate the "problem" in the self driving car industry, consider the possibility of autonomous cars being "bullied" by humans (they won't drive into me, so I can intimidate it!). When asked on BBC Radio recently (Tech Tent, 10th Nov 2017), an industry personality was deadly serious about solving this problem with laws. Seriously? It becomes illegal for you to act in a way that is interpreted as a danger by someone else's lame brained self driving car? No way! How vain is that, expecting everyone else to be compelled by law to account for the nature of one's own product!
"Vanity". Seems more like arrogance.

No need for more laws as there are already numerous autonomous 'vehicles' operating that can be "bullied" by humans and methods available to stop the bully's. A prime example is a lift in a building. Yer summon it and tell it where to go though the lift operates the door and moves under its own computer control. If somebody comes up to an open lift door and holds their arm out they have effectivly stopped the lift in its tracks. Normal polite practice if yer holding a lift for some late arrivals and rarely bothers the people already in the lift. The "bullied" comparison would be when some drunk or yobbo comes up and keeps blocking the door. Comparing it to autonomous cars being bullied I'd suspect the police would find more then one matter to remove/control the bully's
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Old 7th Dec 2017, 07:30   #42 (permalink)
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@Ian W,

Yes I'm aware that the established traditional practioners in the field of flight controls are working very hard indeed to do things the right way, to their immense credit. And they do it the traditional way; carefully evolving a testable specification, applying analytical forethought and rigour along the way, and then testing it.

That is how it should be.

It is indeed the newer breed of transport entrepreneur who I worry about the most. They seem to see rules as barriers to be pushed over, rather than enablers of a far larger market.

Unfortunately I can't guarantee that politicians won't be persuaded to make rash decisions. So far in the self driving car endeavour politicians have behaved quite sensibly (California publishes the statistics resulting from trials, much to Google's annoyance...).

Uber's approach to developing self-driving technology is a wonder to behold; it seemingly involves zero forethought and specification writing, being nothing more than throwing a lot of data into a machine learning algorithm and accepting whatever emerges as "finished" so long as it seems to behave itself!

I can add another example: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/0...ones_uas_rpas/. Mike Gadd of the CAA did a good job of pouring a large quantity of cold water on their parade by reminding them that their software would have to be considered "safety critical", and therefore certified as such. It rather took the shine of their glitzy animations and exciting talks...
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Old 8th Dec 2017, 06:36   #43 (permalink)
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It sounds just like a HindenTanic...new ideas are dangerous and many new ideas are really old ideas..
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Old 8th Dec 2017, 13:43   #44 (permalink)
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I think that Mike Gadd was saying that if the UAS Traffic Management System (UTM) 'took over control' of a UAS then it was acting as pilot in command and the actions could be considered safety critical.

One has to split out the vehicle software from the UTM software. Very much as in the current ATC system the aircraft may be under mandatory control, but the pilot remains responsible for the safety of the aircraft. The same applies with the autonomous aircraft - the certified autonomous software is responsible for the safety of the aircraft and not the uncertified 'safety related' but not safety critical ATC systems.

The UTM systems are doomed to fail as they are not 'integrating' UAS into the system they are setting up UAS reservations. They are doing this without any regard to the other users of the lower airspace, the powered parachutes, microlights, hang-gliders, crop sprayers, helicopters etc. etc. The lack of regard is due to abject ignorance of the operations in the lower airspace by people who think that throwing money solves problems. These UTM systems though should not be confused with integration of full size (i.e. greater than 55 pounds up to Heavy) autonomous aircraft into the airspace managed by normal ATC systems from low level up to above FL660.
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Old 8th Dec 2017, 22:54   #45 (permalink)
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The phrase “extended flight controls” by Mike Gadd. was used. I take that to mean that the combination of whatever subsystems are on the aircraft being instructed by a ground based traffic management subsystem results in a single distributed flight control system, split between ground and air acting as one.

If so that would hint at a perception that an automated traffic machine management system issuing instructions to an unmanned aircraft in effect becomes part of that aircraft.

That would also mirror ATC. Yes, the pilot of an airliner has the ultimate responsibility. But the ATC officer on the other end of the radio and the system he/she is using both have to be certified as fit for purpose.

Take the pilot away and the ATC officer and their systems just became a lot more important. Replace the ATC officer altogether and it’s got even more “safety critical”.
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Old 9th Dec 2017, 18:54   #46 (permalink)
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The Head of Airbus Engineering Bernard Zeigler said this was an ambition of Airbus in the early 80's. The A320 was the first step...back then the design concept of the A330/340 was intended to be single crew. If the technology existed today it is 12 years before an aircraft goes from the board to Airline Service. Not in my working life.
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Old 10th Dec 2017, 14:19   #47 (permalink)
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The 747 went from forming the design team in 1963 to commercial service in 1970 and millionth passenger 6 months later. 747 Timeline | Boeing 747

Perhaps the 747 team didn't know it wasn't possible as they did that with slide rules and manual technical drawing before CATIA CAD software was available to 'speed things up'.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 04:33   #48 (permalink)
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It is indeed the newer breed of transport entrepreneur who I worry about the most. They seem to see rules as barriers to be pushed over, rather than enablers of a far larger market.
Excellent point. Most of these "flying taxi" projects I've seen don't seem to appreciate the reality of how difficult it will be getting their vehicle design certified for passenger service in most countries. They seem to think entrenched government regulatory agencies like the US FAA will readily revise established procedures and regulations just to accommodate their business plans. Even getting type certification for a conventional new aircraft design under existing regulations can easily take 3-4 years.

If you take a look at the Uber Elevate white paper, they plan to start with a piloted 4 passenger vehicle.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 08:24   #49 (permalink)
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And it's not just the regulation but practicalities too; I'm a strong advocate of drone technology where it's appropriate. I have one myself. It has guards on its rotors...one of which is now broken! Even on trains, where speed is the only operator controlled parameter, the unmanned option is not generally accepted by the travelling public.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 15:43   #50 (permalink)
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A pilots view.
Whilst I don’t agree with all of the points, the overall theme is very useful.

A theoretical view of some of the problems - myths - traditional stories - a widely held but false belief or idea.


And a military view:-
Overall, the Task Force found that unmanned systems are making a significant, positive impact on DoD objectives worldwide. However, the true value of these systems is not to provide a direct human replacement, but rather to extend and complement human capability by providing potentially unlimited persistent capabilities, reducing human exposure to life threatening tasks, and with proper design, reducing the high cognitive load currently placed on operators/supervisors.

Blame is so satisfying; without a pilot who do you blame.
The public might only accept fully autonomous commercial aircraft when they can identify someone, at the sharp end, to blame.
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