Can Gamers be Good Drone Pilots?

I found Tim Wright’s article “Do Gamers Make Better Drone Operators Than Pilots” really interesting. He studied four groups of people; game players with flight simulation experience, general aviation pilots, professional pilots, and people with no video game experience who were not pilots, and analyzed their performance making decisions in stressful situations. He found that in the neuroticism category gamers had better scores than general aviation pilots. I think that this is an interesting find, but one that I am not very surprised about. In stressful situations, emotions often get in the way of decisions. However, people who game are invested in the game, but know that the outcome does not have a serious effect on them. It makes sense for them not to really use their emotions because there will be no emotional effect. Thus is it not surprising that gamers did well in this category, because they are the group that most likely would use the least amount of emotions while making the decision, and emotions often get in the way of a good decision.

At the time of the article, there was no evidence that gamers would be good drone pilots, but they do possess many skills required to be a good drone pilot. Games require the player to have good hand eye coordination with the controls, as well as patience and the ability to multitask. But, is this really enough skills to make the gamer a good drone pilot. Or is it better for them to have more skills a pilot would have, such as experience with real aircrafts.

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2 thoughts on “Can Gamers be Good Drone Pilots?

  1. I find the fact that gamers had lower neuroticism scores both a good and a concerning thing. It’s good that gamers can operate drones without much emotional investment, but is that what we want when the actions drone operators take usually lead to death and destruction thousands of miles away from their controls?

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  2. One of the notes from this article that really peaked my interest was the fact that their “gamer” group had experience with flight simulators. I think that although we can still consider them a “game,” the fact that simulators often strive to provide a realistic experience makes it so it’s understandable that these individuals might pick up a few skills that would benefit them when flying a drone. Additionally, if they’re seeking out the experience in their free time, it may involve tasks that they find rewarding, and could motivate them to perform better than if they otherwise had no experience with either simulations or actual aircraft. In which case, it would appear to me like its a question of finding individuals who are more motivated to perform these ‘simulator-esque’ flights and have already had practice, where the average joe would most likely not care enough, and an actual pilot may consider the computer interface to be sub-par or limiting relative to their actual flights.

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