How many will die before we fix this?
2012/07/03 Leave a comment
Four airmen died this weekend fighting wildfires. They died needlessly, compounding the tragedy of their sacrifice. There is nothing technological stopping drones from taking over the retardant dropping mission. The hold-up comes down to bureaucratic inertia and a lack of political leadership and attention to this issue.
There have been at least six aircrewmen killed just this fire season! How many does it take before we collectively figure out how to do this mission with autonomous or remotely piloted aircraft?
(My criticism of a lack of political leadership is not a partisan criticism. The technology to remotely pilot fire-retardant tankers has been around for at least two administrations and neither party in congress–which is the body that will really have to act–has shown much leadership on this issue. But seriously, our guys are getting killed. The robotics industry knows how to fix this problem, let’s get everyone at the same table and get the barriers cleared so we quit making widows and orphans every fire season.)