Are gamers best drone pilots than professional pilots?

The US Air Force lacks pilots. Fewer young people want to enlist and when there is enough pilot, they question the suitability of patrolling pilots who must remain on the ground in front of a forest of screens. Researchers at the University of Liverpool had the idea of confronting professional pilots with gamers and a control group in a few exercises where the pilots of drones were immersed in complex and stressful situations. Can a gaming enthusiast make weight in the face of a patented driver? The study is formal. 

Researchers validate the capabilities of gamers

Ability to do several things at once, a habit of computer interfaces, perfect coordination between the eye and the hand, performance in a stressful situation or ability to concentrate on a goal, video game players have many arguments to put in The balance to apply for a military drone pilot post. However, can these qualities truly compete with that of a true pilot? To make prejudices and preconceived ideas, researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Liverpool have devised 21 tests to evaluate the decision-making capacity of 60 candidates placed in command of a drone via a simplified interface. It was not, however, a combat mission simulation, but a simulation of a civilian cargo drone. These 21 tests made it possible to measure the precision, the confidence of the guinea pigs and the quality of their judgment in more or less complex or ambiguous situations.

Photo: Senior Master Sgt. C.R. / US Air Force

Not surprisingly, all test subjects showed greater judgmental ability when the drone was in stand-alone mode and no longer in manual operation. Flight automation lowers the pilot’s workload and effectively paves the way for other training profiles.

Professional drivers and gamers are the ones who have shown the most confidence in their decision-making. Logically, in all three groups, the level of risk and risk directly influences the level of confidence and relevance of decisions made. The more complex the situation becomes, the more doubt the candidates have about the decision to make. Researchers in psychology felt that gamers showed less confidence in these situations, which led them to consider gamers as good candidates for the position of drone pilot.

However, while some air forces, including the RAF, are reluctant to use pilots to conduct their drones in combat, researchers in psychology give their green light. It remains to evaluate the relevance of choosing gamers to carry out real military missions …

Translation : Google Translate

Sources :

“New research from the University of Liverpool highlights the usefulness of Video Game Players (VGPs) as unmanned aircraft operators.”, ScienceDaily, August 21, 2017

“5 Skills that Make Gamers the Best Drone Pilots”, GotGame, May 15, 2017

“Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operators’ accuracy and confidence of decisions: Professional pilots or video game players?”, Cogent Psychology, May 9, 2017

“RAF urged to recruit video game players to operate Reaper drones”, The Guardian, December 9, 2016

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