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back to article US Air Force may allow killbots to be flown by non-pilots

The new head of the US Air Force - replacing an officer who was fired at least in part for dragging his feet on unmanned air operations - has hinted that the service may relax its rule that drone aircraft must be flown by fully qualified military pilots. Answering written questions from Senators prior to his confirmation hearing …

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Black Helicopters

I wonder...

How long till there is a Americas Army version where you can fly your own predator drone with realistic control and graphics and recruitment letters getting sent to the top 100 people on the leader boards heh

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Black Helicopters

Western De-Skilling Continues Apace

..I wonder what these gamers are going to do when they find hman enemies are a bit more sophisticated than XBox AI? Surely this is just handing WW3 to the Chinese on a plate?

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Pirate

The Temptation of St Athan

"then by God you'll still have a pilot." That is as may be and they will have to be Virtual AIMaster Pilots in the Beta Management of Perception with Quantum Communications Control for Virtual TelePortation with the ESPecialised Application of ProgramMIngs.

:-) Beam me up, Scotty Darling.

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Joke

Comfort Factor

hmm that looks quite uncomfortable, cant they add a large steering wheel like a bus driver would have? :)

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Bronze badge

why don't they outsource

...to that excellent company, once part of Halliburton, that's doing such an excellent job in Iraq supporting the American forces there? They are clearly competent, not interested in anything but serving their country, and have amongst their employees only top-calibre, ethical people who respect diversity.

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Anonymous Coward

How long till there is a Americas Army?

And how long then til the top rated players are sent on real missions with the simulator as the interface to the real deal?

"Son, you know that game you thought you were playing? Well it was real."

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Alien

Remotely manned?

Shouldn't the term be "remotely manned"? Since there is actually someone sat in the pilots seat, it's just that the pilots seat is very, very far away.

Just a thought.

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Joke

Can't wait....

....for "Battlefield 2018 - Total Reality Edition", in which all the players are flying actual drones during the China/Russia vs USA conflict.

Kill commies with the Playstation 5, right from your moms basement.

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Xbox

I saw something on TV earlier in the year (No, not April 1st) that showed a branch of the US military (can't recall if it was army/air force/navy) using the Xbox360 controller to pilot an unmanned flying craft. Apparently it does a great job thanks to its analogue controls. They made the comment that why should they reinvent the wheel.

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Outsourcing

I think they should outsource to China.

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Re: why don't they outsource

"...to that excellent company, once part of Halliburton, that's doing such an excellent job in Iraq supporting the American forces there?"

I fail to see the benefit in handing this over to the Republican party.

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Buy British

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/16/bae_mantis_generation_skip/

There you go, you missed an opportunity to recommend the British version over the American version, except of course you slated the British version for doing what the Americans want their drones to do.....

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Black Helicopters

Ender's Game

They should make it an online game. For kids. Everyone knows they have quicker reaction times and better ability to adapt to new games.

It should be pretty easy to make the lower levels simulations, so only those qualified get to the upper levels (i.e, actual flights).

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Alien

@I wonder

So rather like the ending of Ender's Game then? Damn those buggers to heck!

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Paris Hilton

@Steven Knox

Darn darn darn, you got your Ender's Game comment in before me.

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Pity about Molesey

I met him a while back and he came across like a good chap. Open and honest but at the end of the day he's too pilot-centric.

Still, sooner or later the UCAVs will be autonomous (at least for flight, if not weapons delivery). Reaper makes a nice stop-gap until the Sky Warrior is available and then whatever the next best craft is.

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Pirate

old sci fi-prior art

IIRC, it was "Last Child Under The Mountain". petulant and sullen kid destroys enemies and allies alike because he wants the highest score.

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Coat

"control up to 6.. at a time"

so that'd be an RTS game style interface then?

Actually, that'd be fantastic- take the sensor data from UAVs, Land Warrior kit, sensor-equipped vehicles, satellite data, and so on. And stick it all into a 3D RTS simulation. Heirarchical control (i.e. overall commander tells his guys what to do through the interface, the guys control 6 Predators each), full 3D graphics AND an easy-to-use interface.

Only problem is that they'd lose really quickly if they were fighting the Koreans...

It's the one with the Jim Raynor ID tag

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Silver badge

Not forgetting...

... The Last Starfighter.

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Thumb Down

@Frank Bough

"..I wonder what these gamers are going to do when they find hman enemies are a bit more sophisticated than XBox AI? Surely this is just handing WW3 to the Chinese on a plate?"

Sir, you do the XBox AI a great disservice

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Non pilots

"There is control software in test nowadays which will allow a single, not especially highly trained operator to handle up to six drones at once"

and it'll be a roaring sucess right up until they crash one into a 747 full of GI's on short Finals into Bagdhad/ Kabul

just a shame a few hundred people may die to prove a point, maybe with luck it'll just be a Cargo flight

Roumor has it the Royal Artillery have already managed to crash one of their Bugger-off into the moving rotors of a helicopter, on the ground at the time

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NOar22TX2k

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@ Graeme

I can see the follow-up interview with the remote pilot already. "See, Sean rushed to the door when the pizza was delivered, and he like totally knocked over my Mountain Dew, and I was like "man, watchit!" and when I found the can under the desk the signal from the drone was totally gone, like, gone, the drone was gone"

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Coat

Oh great.

So now the <insert your disparaging label here> will not only see "Our brave boys formerly on the Eastern front" as infidels, but as terminators as well. Which is, come to think of it, surprisingly accurate.

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Globalism comes full circle

>Kill commies with the Playstation 5, right from your moms basement..

Turn the thing over and read the "Made in China" label.

In the book "Shock Doctrine" it was noted that the way things are progressing sees parts of the same corporation selling the weapons needed to flatten a country, services to relief agencies that deal with the aftermath and rebuilding services to rebuild what they flattened. Its not that far fetched; relatively few people know about one of the outstanding things that had to be settled at the end of WW1 was the the fuses on the shells used by the British to kill Germans were subject to a German patent and attracted royalties to the patent holder.

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Alien

The Game's Afoot

Shades of "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. I understand the first non-pilot is a fellow named Andrew Wiggin.

Maybe astronaut Edgar Mitchell knows something after all.

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Alien

"Speaker For The Dead"

RE:Ender's Game

By Steven Knox

Posted Friday 25th July 2008 13:19 GMT

I see you've read a little of the good stuff too. :+)

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Bronze badge

gimmick

they be easy when at war with a country that has biplanes

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Paris Hilton

Men

Women tend to be better at this kind of thing, like welding it requires good hand to eye co-ord, patience and reliable performance levels on every operation. Welding offers artistic expression and instant job satisfaction though, the very best welders are all female.

There isn't the physical side of G-forces or enemy capture, instead of the single minded focus of men, who get fustrated and lapse in concentration, the women would be more likely to suffer boredom instead of failure but still operate well.

Not to say women would find it exciting but they could do a much better job without suffering the stress or the autistic focus men have.

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@ Frank Bough

in regards to Xbox AI....any gamer worth their salt plays online against real people(oh so that's what that Xbox Live thing is).

if you want to make a comment on a 'Western De-skilling', at least provide a rational argument instead of your ignorant view of video games.

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Happy

Full speed ahead and ....

Damn the friendly fire. Expect terror from the skies wrecking havoc on enemy and friendly alike. Gotta admit it makes for one really cool video game. A shame you can't uplevel and dieing means you can't automatically respawn. Maybe aerial nanobots will take care of that.

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Silver badge

Drones piss easy to fly?

Dunno about these drones, but a while ago some drones were already being designed to be dirt simple to fly. Onboard software prevents most of the deadly conditions for which you need any piloting skill (stalling, slipping etc). Just command in a "climb" or "turn left" movement and the drone software does all the complicated rudder/aileron/whatever manipulation. That makes it easier to fly a drone than drive a truck.

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Dead Vulture

Flyboys get bored Geeks don't

Zap! Kerpow! Got another one.

Now for the next level.

Don't worry about friendly fire there are no real people out there anyway.

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The Last Starfighter

Anyone remember the film The Last Starfighter? A trailerpark kid is recruited to save the galaxy because he got the top score on a video game.

By peter about women: "There isn't the physical side of G-forces"

It was my understanding that female pilots handled G-forces better than their male counterparts due to quirks in the anatomical differences (according to the discovery channel many many years ago)

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WWII

they had tons of ncos flying planes if i remember correctly and they did a great job.

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Coat

It the end of the era of steam.... oh wait..

It is only recently here in Canada that the railways stopped having firemen, brakemen on their trains. Thanks to a real strong union these brawny and diligent coal shovellers and caboose minders had jobs for life, even though the trains went diesel half a century ago and the controls went electronic with the commensurate disappearance of the caboose just a few decades past.

I see these jet jockeys are in the same pickle and you will be dragging the control sticks from-their-cold-dead-hands. Either that or the brass et al, gets their early retirement packages for being mutton heads.

With all this bluster and smoke blowing you know theres going to be someones hands in your pocket soon enough.

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@Martin Usher

Actually the reverse is also true. The machineguns that the Germans massed hub-to-hub in the Western Front were subject to the patent rights of Sir Hiram Maxim.

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Stop

The Stargate Connection

Before you start yes I know it's scraping the entertainment barrel but I can't resist! Anyhoo, there's an episode where the team turn up on whatever conveniently human inhabited planet and fly remote control drones, only to find out they are flying them for Nazi's. The America's Army comment from the AC made me think that this move away from actual human contact in war makes it all the more easy for armed services personnel to remain oblivious to the horrors they inflict. What if this tech was availbale for Vietnam, would the veterans anti war movement have even existed, let alone have the gravitas it did if the worst injuries were RSI and soldiers never had to step over the bodies of those they killed? I feel a bit angry/sick just thinking about it to be honest, or maybe that was the Inq's coverage of the spammer suicide...

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