Video game players could make best unmanned pilots

What are the odds of video game players making some of the best unnamed pilots in the world? The odds could definitely favor video game players considering they put in considerable number of hours every single day to play their favourite video games.

A University of Liverpool study highlights the usefulness of Video Game Players (VGPs) as unmanned aircraft operators and one of the primary motivations behind this study is the extensive research carried out in the filed of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) operations over the last four decades and how they have outpaced current training regimes resulting in a shortage of qualified UAS pilots.

Scientists explored the suitability of three potential UAS groups; VGPs, private pilots and professional pilots. The participants, 60 in total, all took part in a simulated civilian cargo flight to enable the researchers to assess their levels of accuracy, confidence and confidence-accuracy judgements (W-S C-A). The participants made 21 decision tasks, which varied across three levels of danger/ risk.

As danger increased levels of confidence, accuracy and the relationship between how accurate the decision was and the level of confidence applied to those decisions decreased. The dangerousness of the decision also affected how confident participants were when choosing to intervene or rely on the automation; confidence was lower when the operator chose to intervene.

The study showed that professional pilots and VGPs exhibited the highest level of decision confidence, with VGPs maintaining a constant and positive W-S C-A relationship across decision danger/risk.

All groups showed higher levels of decision confidence in decisions controlled by the UAS in comparison to decisions where the operator manually intervened.

Authors of the study believe that their study and the resulting understanding garnered from it will enable which potential supervisory group has the best skills to make the best decisions and this could help improve UAS supervision. Overall, video game players were less overconfident in their decision judgements and this supports the outcome that this particular group could be a useful resource in UAS operation.

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