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The Navy's X-47B Will Be So Autonomous, You Can Steer It With Mouse Clicks
Fox News ^ | 13 Apr 2011

Posted on 04/13/2011 8:59:27 AM PDT by mandaladon

To fly the military's baddest, most technologically advanced planes, you once had to have what Tom Wolfe called "that righteous stuff" -- the willingness to strap yourself to a jet-fuel laden machine and push it to the very limits of its mechanical capabilities. Nowadays, unmanned systems have taken the human danger out of some combat missions, though human pilots remain at the sticks.

But not for long.

The Navy's experimental X-47B combat system won't be remotely piloted, but almost completely autonomous. Human involvement won't be of the stick-and-rudder variety, but handled with simple mouse clicks.

Speaking to reporters at the Sea Air Space convention near Washington, reps from both Northrop Grumman (maker of the X-47B) and the Navy said the X-47B would be piloted not by human handlers in some steel box in Nevada, but by 3.4 million lines of software code. The rest of its functions will be able to be handled by non-pilot personnel (or your average child), as they will only require clicks of the mouse; a click to turn on the engines, a click to taxi, a click to initiate takeoff, etc.

For flyboys proudly boasting their nighttime carrier landing cred, the idea is anathema. But given the difficulty and danger of carrier takeoffs and landings, automating them is one way to ensure safety--provided the systems work the way they are supposed to. The X-47B has already taken to the skies from Edwards AFB earlier this year, but this is a Navy plane. As such, it will begin "learning" the ins and outs of carrier operations via simulated takeoffs and landings starting in 2013.

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; Technical
KEYWORDS: aircraft; military; navair; navy
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This takes all the fun of flying a combat aircraft.
1 posted on 04/13/2011 8:59:32 AM PDT by mandaladon
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To: mandaladon
...the Navy said the X-47B would be piloted not by human handlers in some steel box in Nevada, but by 3.4 million lines of software code.

What could possibly go wrong?

2 posted on 04/13/2011 9:03:38 AM PDT by Moonman62 (Half of all Americans are above average. Politicians come from the other half.)
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To: mandaladon

Having a plane that is not limited by the pilot’s ability to withstand G-Forces in turns takes the fun out of fighting against such an aircraft as well.


3 posted on 04/13/2011 9:04:31 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer (biblein90days.org))
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To: mandaladon
REMF's revenge.

Terminator Mice.


4 posted on 04/13/2011 9:06:39 AM PDT by kbennkc (For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.)
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To: mandaladon
On the obverse, we have millions of 14-17 year old's that can whoop another country's air force's ass.

/s

5 posted on 04/13/2011 9:07:16 AM PDT by Michael Barnes
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To: Moonman62

What could possibly go wrong?
What could possibly go wrong?
What could possibly go wrong?
What could possibly go wrong?
What could possibly go wrong?
What could possibly go wrong?
What could possibly go wrong?
What could possibly go wrong?
What could possibly go wrong?
What could possibly go wrong?


6 posted on 04/13/2011 9:09:02 AM PDT by al baby (Hi Mom!!! <sarc>)
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To: magslinger

Heads up bump!!


7 posted on 04/13/2011 9:11:36 AM PDT by ken5050 (Save the Earth..It's the only planet with chocolate!!!)
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To: mandaladon

Depending on the type of plane..fighter, bomber, I’ve read that as much as 25-30% of the plane is devoted to the pilot/crew..space, protection, life support systems...eliminate this, and you can substantially increase payload/distance..and of course, the danger tot he crew..


8 posted on 04/13/2011 9:14:10 AM PDT by ken5050 (Save the Earth..It's the only planet with chocolate!!!)
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To: mandaladon

If it can land on a carrier, in a storm, at night...have they worked out a plan for mid-air refueling?


9 posted on 04/13/2011 9:15:09 AM PDT by ken5050 (Save the Earth..It's the only planet with chocolate!!!)
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To: mandaladon

How long before some script kiddie hacks it, I wonder?


10 posted on 04/13/2011 9:16:38 AM PDT by Little Ray (The Gods of the Copybook Heading, with terror and slaughter return!)
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To: mandaladon

So now the Navy will have to relegate pilots to video game junkies, the X-47B will by controlled via the Sony PS3 game controller from mom’s basement.


11 posted on 04/13/2011 9:18:59 AM PDT by montyspython (This thread needs more cowbell)
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To: mandaladon

Kind of an eerie similarity to Ender’s Game.


12 posted on 04/13/2011 9:20:24 AM PDT by montyspython (This thread needs more cowbell)
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To: ken5050
If it can land on a carrier, in a storm, at night...

Why would it need to?

13 posted on 04/13/2011 9:20:24 AM PDT by Poison Pill
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To: Poison Pill

You prefer it lands in the ocean?


14 posted on 04/13/2011 9:21:35 AM PDT by ken5050 (Save the Earth..It's the only planet with chocolate!!!)
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To: Moonman62

Dave, my mind is going...


15 posted on 04/13/2011 9:22:23 AM PDT by azcap (Who is John Galt ? www.conservativeshirts.com)
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To: mandaladon

All I have to say is “Manny, Moe, and Jack”


16 posted on 04/13/2011 9:23:13 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (President Obama’s approval ratings are so low now, Kenyans are accusing him of being born in the US)
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To: ken5050
Looks like things are pretty well worked out - here is yur evidence:


17 posted on 04/13/2011 9:25:42 AM PDT by frithguild (The Democrat Party Brand - Big Government protecting Entrenched Interests from Competition)
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To: mandaladon; microgood; liberallarry; cmsgop; shaggy eel; RayChuang88; Larry Lucido; namsman; ...

Not to be confused with an XB-47.

If you want on or off this aerospace ping list, please contact Paleo Conservative or phantomworker by Freep mail.


18 posted on 04/13/2011 9:27:14 AM PDT by Paleo Conservative
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To: al baby

Caught in a loop there, al?

What could possibly go wrong? Somebody forgot a conversion factor?


19 posted on 04/13/2011 9:32:59 AM PDT by Ole Okie
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To: mandaladon

The DNC has already registered each aircraft as a DemocRAT voter with the power of attorney to vote for it while it is deployed...which is any time the polls are open.


20 posted on 04/13/2011 9:35:46 AM PDT by Redleg Duke ("Madison, Wisconsin is 30 square miles surrounded by reality.", L. S. Dryfus)
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To: mandaladon
...The Navy's X-47B Will Be So Autonomous, You Can Steer It With Mouse Clicks...

It's not autonomous if you steer it.

21 posted on 04/13/2011 9:50:44 AM PDT by FReepaholic (Pray for Japan.)
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To: FReepaholic

Steer it with mouse whats?????


22 posted on 04/13/2011 9:53:56 AM PDT by Redleg Duke ("Madison, Wisconsin is 30 square miles surrounded by reality.", L. S. Dryfus)
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To: montyspython
Have you seen the movie "Surrogates?" The infantry in the "peacekeeping" operation are all remotely-piloted robots controlled by teenagers.


23 posted on 04/13/2011 9:54:27 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: mandaladon
The Navy's X-47B Will Be So Autonomous, You Can Steer It With Mouse Clicks

That is Automation, not Autonomy. You would think a reporter might know the meaning of words.
24 posted on 04/13/2011 9:55:48 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: mandaladon

Cost is what 1 billion each, what a waste of money.


25 posted on 04/13/2011 9:59:49 AM PDT by org.whodat
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To: ken5050
I’ve read that as much as 25-30% of the plane is devoted to the pilot/crew..space, protection, life support systems

It is actually a bigger constraint than that. Humans are a fixed size. So if the plane gets smaller that percentage goes way up. This means in order to make a plane cost effective you have to built it a certain minimum size. Also people are a certain shape which dictates things like a canopy which really increase your frontal area (drag). So lets say you decide you want a nice small plane that carries 1 or 2 bombs and fills the role as a sort of reusable cruise missile. Making a UAV this size and shape is easy and cost effective. Making such a craft into a manned vehicle just does not make sense. So you change your plans and make it bigger. And of course that means you can make fewer of them.
26 posted on 04/13/2011 10:01:16 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: ken5050
If it can land on a carrier, in a storm, at night...have they worked out a plan for mid-air refueling?

There are a lot of things a human can do that a robot can't. Landing a plane is NOT one of them.
27 posted on 04/13/2011 10:06:45 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: Moonman62

Blue screen of death from above?


28 posted on 04/13/2011 10:10:45 AM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Paleo Conservative

In a related story, well-known actor Rip Torn was granted a Presidential pardon and appointed as head of the armed forces recruiting command. _Resident Obama made note of Rip’s prior experience with these matters.


29 posted on 04/13/2011 10:13:11 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (President Obama’s approval ratings are so low now, Kenyans are accusing him of being born in the US)
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To: montyspython

“So now the Navy will have to relegate pilots to video game junkies”

Yep. Everything being planned out now is designed without a pilot. Bombers don’t need pilots, fighters with 360^2 sensors don’t need pilots, tankers don’t need pilots, etc.

Imagine a fighter that can withstand 45 G turns. No human aircraft, regardless of its capabilities, will ever approach that turn radius. Imagine a fighter than can fire its guns or launch missiles or fire an energy weapon with extreme accuracy at the exact nanosecond needed. No human fighter will match that fire capability.

Imagine a tanker that can orbit on station for 72 hours and do so cheaper than we can today and deliver more gas than currently possible. Imagine a bomber that does the same.

Imagine because there is no human factors required that the cost can come down 50% so we can have more of these aircraft, negating any failure resulting from technological failures where an onboard pilot might have had the chance to correct the issue with loss of the aircraft.

Imagine sending in these aircraft into hostile areas where we might otherwise shy away from using manned aircraft.

Being a pilot is sexy, cool, and exciting, sure, but I want to win wars.


30 posted on 04/13/2011 10:14:42 AM PDT by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: mandaladon

I thought it required the “right stuff” to pilot such aircraft. When did it become “righteous stuff?”


31 posted on 04/13/2011 10:16:27 AM PDT by Elsiejay
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To: ken5050

o man thats too funny


32 posted on 04/13/2011 10:21:09 AM PDT by al baby (Hi Mom!!! <sarc>)
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To: CodeToad

Are you channeling John Lennon?


33 posted on 04/13/2011 10:24:17 AM PDT by al baby (Hi Mom!!! <sarc>)
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To: CodeToad

Humans still need to make decisions, no matter how technically advanced a system is made it lacks those intangibles.

Its not about sexy.


34 posted on 04/13/2011 10:24:36 AM PDT by montyspython (This thread needs more cowbell)
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To: Paleo Conservative
Lived near MacDill AFB in Tampa during Cuban Missile Crisis. When they scrambled, one would always go over the house, full throttle, at about 200 feet AGL.

It WOULD get your attention!

35 posted on 04/13/2011 10:28:51 AM PDT by MindBender26 (While the MSM slept.... we have become relevant media in America.)
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To: mvpel

I’ll have to check that out.


36 posted on 04/13/2011 10:46:26 AM PDT by montyspython (This thread needs more cowbell)
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To: Paleo Conservative

I see a trackball for sighting in the Hellfires.

37 posted on 04/13/2011 11:31:37 AM PDT by CholeraJoe (To conserve energy, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off permanently.)
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To: Moonman62

38 posted on 04/13/2011 11:32:22 AM PDT by AFreeBird
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To: CodeToad
Imagine a fighter that can withstand 45 G turns. No human aircraft, regardless of its capabilities, will ever approach that turn radius. Imagine a fighter than can fire its guns or launch missiles or fire an energy weapon with extreme accuracy at the exact nanosecond needed. No human fighter will match that fire capability.

Now imagine that the only thing a future politician or bureaucrat needs in order to use such a force against domestic opponents is a bunch of people willing to click some mice.

39 posted on 04/13/2011 11:45:18 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 ("It is only when we've lost everything, that we are free to do anything" -- Fight Club)
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To: PapaBear3625

True but what politician is going to trust the operator?


40 posted on 04/13/2011 11:49:16 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: TalonDJ

“You would think a reporter might know the meaning of words.”

Considering the “quality” of modern “reporting”, you’re kidding, right? ;)


41 posted on 04/13/2011 11:49:29 AM PDT by Levante
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To: PapaBear3625

“Now imagine that the only thing a future politician or bureaucrat needs in order to use such a force against domestic opponents is a bunch of people willing to click some mice.

Well, they already have that. I haven’t seen too many military refuse orders least they be prosecuted.


42 posted on 04/13/2011 11:51:01 AM PDT by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: montyspython

“Humans still need to make decisions”

Only about what are the targets and to shoot or not. The rest is easy enough for technology to handle. In fact, airplanes take off, navigate, and land every day without pilot intervention.


43 posted on 04/13/2011 11:53:14 AM PDT by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: CodeToad
Imagine a fighter that can be turned back on it's senders using information gathered from some well placed espionage dollars and electronic devices.
44 posted on 04/13/2011 11:57:07 AM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult
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To: montyspython

Actually it is. As much as people want to dismiss human fighter pilots they will always be needed for one thing. Funding for new planes. Aviation history is filled with stories of how pilots get the public behind aviation funding by selling it. The public then got on Congress. Barnstorming and air shows are just some of the things that they did and now do to meet that end. The masses aren’t going to rally behind a gadget that’s nothing more than a reusable guided rocket or bomb dispenser.


45 posted on 04/13/2011 12:06:45 PM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult

“Funding for new planes”

Fine. Through some reality into the dreamsicle! :)

That is by far the most significant barrier to unmanned vehicles of all sorts: Politics of pilots. They want to fly machines and they, for now although losing some clout, control the programs to develop new vehicles. I’m a pilot and would love to fly everything out there, but I am also an engineer and develop those unmanned systems. Ultimate capabilities are my goal.


46 posted on 04/13/2011 12:12:02 PM PDT by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: frithguild
Those are artists renderings.

NG did just recently demonstrate two UAVs closing in air as a mock refueling. Others have done it before.

47 posted on 04/13/2011 12:13:29 PM PDT by Mr.Unique (My dream thread: Mormon cop shoots Catholic Freeper's Pit Bull and takes his Macbook Pro.)
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To: Springman; sergeantdave; cyclotic; netmilsmom; RatsDawg; PGalt; FreedomHammer; queenkathy; ...
Photobucket

MIping

If you wish to be added to or removed from the Michigan ping list, please post or FReepmail me.

48 posted on 04/13/2011 12:41:48 PM PDT by magslinger (What Would Stephen Decatur Do?)
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To: Paleo Conservative
Thanks PC. I'd like to see some of these teenage joystick flier land THAT baby on an aircraft carrier! lol

The only bomber I loved more was the Convair B-58 Hustler. Man, now that I think of it, the targeting system was inhibited by low computer ability . . .

49 posted on 04/13/2011 12:47:56 PM PDT by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: mandaladon

Great. Hope you don’t have any retirement money in Whiskey companies. They’ll all go down the tubes. Computers don’t sit in the club waving their hands in the air to simulate some tricky maneuver saying, “And there he was on my six!”


50 posted on 04/13/2011 12:49:21 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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