We have suggested that in the deployment of technology, the means justify the ends – that is, if we can do it, then we should do it. With that perspective, humans will be forced to adjust to the presence of technology wherever they go and whatever they do, seemingly without regard to effects


As part of the investigation into the Asiana Flight 214 accident at San Francisco Airport, the National Transportation Safety Board learned that the pilot had set the plane’s speed at 137 knots and assumed the auto throttles would maintain the speed. The system did not maintain that speed, actually leaving the Boeing 777-200ER engines at idle speed through the final portions of the plane’s landing approach and placing the aircraft very near an aerodynamic stall less than 200 feet above San Francisco Bay. A 777 fleet captain for a different major carrier was quoted by Aviation Week and Space Technology, “I don’t know how the whole crew could take their eyes off the speed.” 


The incorporation of automated systems in many areas of endeavor might well be assumed to increase capacity and efficiency, but they also increase unanticipated risks.   Anyone care to go for a ride in a Google autonomous car?


Takeoff and landing are known to be the two key times to maintain maximum safety vigilance on all flights. With automatic capabilities now incorporated into the most advanced aircraft, one must question whether the technology guiding these planes is “training” flight crews to be less vigilant.  

With that being said, it is no surprise that a new study by psychologists at the University of Utah has learned that hands-free (voice-activated) texting – new technology that will be standard in some 2014 automobiles – is more distracting that talking on a cellphone, whether hands free or handheld. 


 Use the right lane while voice texting…

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