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Human Factors Affecting the Safe Operation of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) - Research Paper Example

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The researcher of this essay will make an earnest attempt to discuss the human errors contributing to UAV mishaps with a view to finding out whether the safe operation of UAVs is affected by experience and suggests ways to effect improvements…
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Human Factors Affecting the Safe Operation of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
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Download file to see previous pages The researcher states that as many as 19 different types of UAVs were operating with the coalition forces in 2005 over Iraq, emphasizing the increasing role of UAVs in today’s war front. Advances in automation enable UAVs to be flown autonomously for long periods of time, which necessitate making their own decisions based on input data fed by remote control into them by the human operator positioned on the ground station. UAVs are set to dominate the military skies in a big way, with at least 90% of reconnaissance aircraft predicted to be made up of UAVs by 2015. However, the increasing dominance of the skies by UAVs has been considerably overshadowed by a marked increase in their accident rates as well in comparison with conventional aircraft, in which the human error emerges as a significant contributing factor. This paper discusses the various types of UAVs, the human errors contributing to UAV mishaps and the various related issues. As per US classification, UAVs are essentially classified into the following types: i) Micro UAVs ii) Low altitude Long endurance UAVs iii) High altitude long endurance UAVs using a conventional design iv) High altitude long endurance UAVs incorporating a low observable design. Notwithstanding the above, Agostino, Mammone Nelson & Zhou argue that UAVs can be classified into different subgroups in five different ways based on their Performance Characteristics such as Weight, Endurance &Range, Maximum Altitude, Wing Loading or the Engine Type. UAVs can also be categorized depending on their Mission Capabilities. Accordingly, depending on weight, a UAV can be of Super Heavy, Heavy, Medium, Light or Micro category. Table-1 gives the classification by weight of some well known UAVs. As per this classification, Global Hawk is a super heavy UAV of over two tons by weight while Raven is a medium UAV and Dragon Eye a micro UAV of under 5Kg by weight. A comparison of weights of the different types of UAVs on a logarithmic scale is given at Fig-1. According to the endurance and range UAVs are classified to enable the type of UAVs to be selected for a particular mission based on the distance it has to travel and the frequency of refueling needs requiring it to be grounded. While long-endurance UAVs can stay on a sortie for more than 24 hours at a stretch, medium endurance UAVs stay afloat for 5-24 hours and low endurance UAVs can fly only less than 5 hours continuously. The range of long endurance UAVs tends to be high, with around 22,000kms for Global Hawk. The ranges of Gnat and Heron are less than 5000km as shown at Fig-2. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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