Experts: Human Error Causes Drone Failures

More than 1,000 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UVAs) have been sold for use in the past three years in Israel, logging more than 150,000 flight hours.

Experts say so-called safety incidents involving Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UVAs ) are caused mostly by operators issuing faulty commands, not paying attention or being too tired to function properly, according to a Civil Aviation Authority discussion two weeks ago.

In the closed session on UVAs, held in Shefayim, experts explained that problems occurred when the "operator fed a faulty command to the UVA without being aware of it. While working with a UVA, much of the operator's attention is focused on fulfilling the mission - not on the UVA's flight data."

Speakers also said that in many UVA command centers, "the length of the mission makes it hard for operators, who are working long shifts, to keep fully focused and concentrated for long periods."

More than 1,000 UVAs have been sold for use in the past three years in Israel, logging more than 150,000 flight hours. Fifteen different companies are active in the UVA industry, which boasts 60 different types of drones. Data reported at the meeting showed that all the transactions involving UVAs were for military - rather than commercial or civilian - purposes.

According to the CAA's new operation, control and safety regulations a warning signal will be activated "when a UVA deviates from its theoretical operational standards or when an automatic analysis of parameters causes the system to 'estimate' that it can't execute a given command."

For example, experts explained, "if a command to ascend to 21,000 feet was given and the UVA is limited by its manufacturers to 12,000 feet, an alarm will go off. In the same manner, if the order is to ascend to 12,000 feet and the UVA is carrying extra weight so that the system 'feels' it cannot ascend at the proper pace, an alert will be sounded."

Participants in the CAA gathering - who, among other subjects, discussed both worldwide and local regulations concerning UVAs - included representatives from the industry, the army and various governmental agencies.