posted on Sep, 2 2006 @ 11:55 AM
Actually, the real sadness is that this is British Bureaucratic BS in action as a function of some civil service idiot paying for his retirement to
sit on a committee and reach some very obvious conclusions:
1. 90% of aircraft fly on autopilot waypoints 90% of the time, same as drones. Simply because computers are better at it and there are no real
obstacles to avoid.
2. When something 'goes wrong' the drone need only ring a bell on a monitor and Farmer Brown can come set a new waypoint or trigger the emergency
3. TCAS is available down to remarkably small sizes while the use of commercial grade visionics gear could back this up with autonomous EODAS type
systems (for manned aircraft), if only someone would pay for the initial development. Alternatively, put if the UAV's are 'M-class or smaller';
put the bloody beacons on the ground and have them act like a virtual pet fence to the UAV. And a 'flight activities in XbyYbyZ airspace' warning
to aircraft passing through (TCAS as a block airspace consumption).
4. Go outside, look up, what do you see? Great Flipping Expanses of NOT A DAMN THING. And what IS visible is typically well over 5,000ft up.
Provided Farmer Brown didn't try to set an altitude record (i.e. manned floor of 2,000ft, UAV ceiling of 1,500ft) these systems should be no more
dangerous than ESTES freaking rockets.
Truly, THE SADDEST PART of this entire sorry mess is inherent to these two contradictory statements:
Because flying a drone in normal airspace is banned, commercial operators have been unable to take advantage of the technology. "Every regulation for
flight has been written on the assumption that a man would be in the cockpit," Mr Jewell said. "You have to go back to first principles to explore
every aspect of controlled flight and then what is needed to be different to make it safe for unmanned flight."
The question that often arises is whether autonomous vehicles could one day be used to carry passengers. Mr Jewell said companies would be cautious in
entering this market. "Nobody is suggesting that we leap to unmanned transport - that is clearly many decades away and may or may not ever be
achieved. The public will make a judgment over whether that's something they want to see."
Man was onboard the first airplanes because he wanted the freedom of immitating a bird. If we wanted a better spy drone, we could have used less
money to put a camera on a kite and gotten 'military utility' a helluva lot sooner.
With modern electronics, man DOES NOT FLY his own aircraft, 90% of the time. An autopilot and FLCS does, better than a rated aviator. If these
systems FAIL, not even a rated aviator can save the aircraft. But (at speeds under 250 knots) a parachute recovery+airbag system could.
UAVs portend the first chance in nearly a century to wrest control of aviation development (especially miniaturization of powerplants and vehicle
configurations) away from the worthless military elitist subculture. So that, potentially, a man can make a vertical lift off from his hoverpad,
avoid the snarl of London traffic and the nightmare of the A/M class road system in weather and touch down 10-15 minutes later from a nice rural home
over 30 miles away.
SAVING FUEL by virtue of /needing power/ for less than half the time would normally expend driving. Particularly fuel cell fuel. Something important
in an era of Global Warming and the already perceived British need to shift electrical generation to petro-indepedendent sources.
Yet the way this is headed, 'surveillance and monitoring' will be something only high level commercial users (themselves numbering only a handful of
potential sales) will pay to employ in exploiting wide area corporate assets that they cannot otherwise manage. It's just so sad that the capitalist
'free market' doctrine does not make institutional investments in social mechanisms to create wider ranges of utilization than the immediate
'regulatable' obvious utilization will pay for in corporate use.
5 million air cars or 5,000 surveillance assets, all owned by 'publically held, not owned' entities who can pay to take ever larger chunks of
responsibility away from both government which leverages the technology for their use and the average Jo Citizen who simply cannot compete with their
The same thing is happening here and it sickening because we aren't even truly /trying/ to make a rapid shift to hybrid/electric alternatives in the
existing market where a 10 billion dollar per quarter profit margin is the norm.