Humans in a growing robotic combat scenario

 This is evolution at its best. Human interface engineers are working hard these days to better integrate the variety of unmanned air systems into the arsenal of the Israeli air force (IAF).

For many years they have been busy making the work of pilots more comfortable. But this has been changing . The working conditions of a UAS payload operator sitting in a crowded ground control station are no less important.

The results of outstanding technology, the best human interface engineers, some psychology and a lot of experience, mixed in with some urgent operations requirements, is what you see when you visit the IAF’s centre for operational research.

The centre cooperates with all key industries in Israel that are developing systems for combat fighters and UAS.

Combat pilots and UAS operators are frequent visitors in the centre’s facilities and they are requested to operate the systems under the supervision of its experts in an effort to detect the potential problems.

It is true that most of the IAF’s UAS take off , fly and land autonomously, but from the ground station someone is in control of the payloads they carry and these become more sophisticated.

The secret is how to best to produce a complete picture of the battlefield from a number of UAVs flying over it, in other words how to assure that the different UAS see the same target in spite of watching it from different altitudes and angles.

The growing automation of the IAF’s unmanned systems of all kinds poses some new challenges. One of the most complicated is the “grey area” between the automated platform and the human behind it . How, for example, this human will go into action in case of a major breakdown of the UAS.

The fact that the IAF is performing combat missions almost on a daily basis puts a heavy burden on the centre’s staff. 

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