It seems that ground-based pilots of UAVs are finding it hard to cope with the need to maintain vigilance during the long, uneventful hours of a mission and then suddenly to adapt to the urgent demands of an attack.
A similar difficulty was noticed during WWII, when British bomber pilots began to be chosen from the ranks of taxi and truck drivers -people who could maintain just enough attention throughout the course of a raid to keep their crews safe.
As unmanned missions get longer and more complicated, there may be many different phases, each of which demands a different mindset.
Today’s invention is therefore to draft in a different pilot to fly each phase of a UAV mission.
The steady, long attention tasks could be undertaken by the current pilots, but the attack phase might be handed over to pilots who were actually airborne.
They would flip on the auto-pilot, circle and be fed the on-screen data that ground pilots currently use.