’Siri, Kill That Guy’: Drones Might Get Voice Controls
2012 06 07
By David Axe | DangerRoom
The next decade could see a huge shift in the way armed drones and their human controllers interact, with potentially profound effects on future battlefields. At the heart of this change: two-way voice controls for autonomous systems, just like your iPhone’s Siri app. Also, vibrating controls like an Xbox controller. A drone operator could literally talk to a drone and the drone could talk right back, and also alert its human operator with a sensation similar to touch.
A Predator ground control station. Photo: US Air Force
Today, human drone operators rely on clunky interfaces comprised of computer screens, keyboards and joysticks to steer their robot charges, which might be thousands of miles away from the virtual cockpits. The operator’s input is limited to keystrokes and mouse and joystick movements transmitted via satellite. The drone responds solely with streams of data or visual images sent from its onboard cameras. “It’s a desktop-type environment similar to an office,” explains Mike Patzek, a senior engineer working for the Air Force Research Laboratory in Ohio.
In the next decade or so, much more sophisticated controls — what the Air Force calls “man-machine interfaces” — could replace the desktops, Patzek tells Danger Room. In addition to the Siri-style two-way voice exchange, Patzek says the next-gen controls could include smarter, easier-to-interpret computer displays and tactile feedback from the drone to the operator, much in the way an Xbox controller vibrates to alert a player he’s taking damage within a game.
Read the full article at: wired.com
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