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First Autonomous UH-60A Black Hawk Flight. Leaves the tarmac on its first fully unmanned flight. Fort Campbell, KY Feb 8, 2022

Kirkhill

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I guess? I don't even think military folks have seriously debated that terminology.

Personal opinion: If you have a swarm scenario, you won't also have individual RPAS pilots. It's kind of one or the other - the whole idea of the swarm is that they're all acting as one...uh...swarm.


So an RPAS has a pilot.

An RPAS swarm has no pilots?
 

Kirkhill

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Just advancing the thought from Dimsum's comment.

A pilot commands/controls a craft - singular (air or sea).

An Air Traffic Controller controls a geographical space and the activity within it. The ATC indirectly controls the craft through the intervention of the pilots. But if there is no human in the loop between the ATC and the craft, and the ATC is directly commanding the craft, individually or as an entity .... is the ATC a pilot, a controller or a commander? For sure the ATC isn't a leader.
 

blacktriangle

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So an RPAS has a pilot.

An RPAS swarm has no pilots?
If a swarm consisted of multiple RPAS, then there would be multiple pilots. If a swarm is AI enabled and truly autonomous, then there would be no pilots. Right? Am I missing something here?
 

Kirkhill

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If a swarm consisted of multiple RPAS, then there would be multiple pilots. If a swarm is AI enabled and truly autonomous, then there would be no pilots. Right? Am I missing something here?


No. You're right. By definition a Remotely Piloted Aircraf System has a pilot. So an RPAS is a UAS but a UAS is not necessarily an RPAS.

A swarm? It could be made up of aircraft with onboard crew, remotely crewed aircraft, optionally crewed aircraft or AI aircraft. But what is the Swarm Master? Leader, commander or controller? Or just supervisor/inspector?
 

blacktriangle

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Just advancing the thought from Dimsum's comment.

A pilot commands/controls a craft - singular (air or sea).

An Air Traffic Controller controls a geographical space and the activity within it. The ATC indirectly controls the craft through the intervention of the pilots. But if there is no human in the loop between the ATC and the craft, and the ATC is directly commanding the craft, individually or as an entity .... is the ATC a pilot, a controller or a commander? For sure the ATC isn't a leader.
I think I see what you're getting at. I don't see it as fundamentally that different. The ATC would simply be in communication with AI instead of a human pilot. If everything checked out, the AI would then complete the necessary intervention. You could even have an ATC AI interacting with the AI of the aerial craft via M2M datalink. That's a whole another can of worms, though.

And I'm in no way advocating for the replacement of pilots or human controllers. I wouldn't board an aircraft without a pilot present onboard, and human ATC in the loop.
 

Kirkhill

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I think I see what you're getting at. I don't see it as fundamentally that different. The ATC would simply be in communication with AI instead of a human pilot. If everything checked out, the AI would then complete the necessary intervention. You could even have an ATC AI interacting with the AI of the aerial craft via M2M datalink. That's a whole another can of worms, though.

And I'm in no way advocating for the replacement of pilots or human controllers. I wouldn't board an aircraft without a pilot present onboard, and human ATC in the loop.

I'm inclined to agree with you. Although I have used SkyTrain in Vancouver.

As to Swarm Technology I am wondering what happens if, for example, swarm technology were applied to a bucket full of 70 mm rockets?

Swarms can be big or small.
 

dimsum

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I was going to jump in but I agree with @blacktriangle 's examples.

I think terminology is the problem here - an ATC doesn't directly control anything, as in they don't physically make the aircraft do it. They give instructions to the pilot, which as the Aircraft Commander (the pilot, that is) can totally refuse. Of course, they have to have a good reason to do that.

As for what to call a person directly controlling a swarm of RPAS or UAS - probably "operator" is the best term. By that point, presumably you're not directly controlling how they physically fly but where to go and what to do.

As to Swarm Technology I am wondering what happens if, for example, swarm technology were applied to a bucket full of 70 mm rockets?
Coordinated simultaneous attacks from different vectors, probably. I give it 5 years before it's a reality. Maybe less.
 

KevinB

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I guess? I don't even think military folks have seriously debated that terminology.

Personal opinion: If you have a swarm scenario, you won't also have individual RPAS pilots. It's kind of one or the other - the whole idea of the swarm is that they're all acting as one...uh...swarm.
Union rules: There will be a Higher rank along with the RPAS Pilot...
 

Kirkhill

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I was going to jump in but I agree with @blacktriangle 's examples.

I think terminology is the problem here - an ATC doesn't directly control anything, as in they don't physically make the aircraft do it. They give instructions to the pilot, which as the Aircraft Commander (the pilot, that is) can totally refuse. Of course, they have to have a good reason to do that.

As for what to call a person directly controlling a swarm of RPAS or UAS - probably "operator" is the best term. By that point, presumably you're not directly controlling how they physically fly but where to go and what to do.


Coordinated simultaneous attacks from different vectors, probably. I give it 5 years before it's a reality. Maybe less.

Glad I'm in my armchair.
 

SeaKingTacco

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Good2Golf

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At least they wouldn’t have to worry about autonomous callsign review boards coming up with tone-deafeningly inappropriate call signs. 😉
 

Good2Golf

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Is it wrong to place more trust in artificial intelligence behaving properly than human intelligence? 😉
 
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