Author Topic: Boeing's Ferguson on Starliner - no touch screens, but far simpler than Shuttle  (Read 10643 times)

Offline Lars-J

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He was kind and said "I have never done a walk around on a real Triple Seven" and my reply was "Fortunately for all of us, I have. many many many times. SAfe flights"

Starliner is going to be an amazing vehicle...it will always have a pilot :)

So now we need a pre-launch walk-around of the LV & SC?  Leave it behind; does not apply.  Yes, these SC will always have a "pilot" because someone has to be in command and ultimately responsible.  Don't conflate that responsibility with the actions you perform piloting an aircraft.  These are not aircraft, they are spacecraft.

Indeed. Some of the current experience is valid, but at some point your have to let go of the past when it no longer applies. Learn from the past, don't get stuck in it.

Offline Negan

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for all I know Musk has come onto the new thing with his touch screens...he is unique no airplane, nuclear control systems, oil field control (ie rigs off shore) or nuclear submarine...is using them...

Doesn't the F-35 use touch screens?

yeah and it also has the super helmet neither of which work well :)

Haven't seen any reported issues about F-35 touch screens. How about nuclear submarines. Looks like the Virginia Class uses them.

"There's no helm, either. The pilot - known as a helmsman on older subs - steers the $2 billion vessel using a joystick that resembles the controller from an old Atari video game system. He can also punch instructions onto a touch-screen control panel and set the boat on auto-pilot"

https://pilotonline.com/news/military/article_ed1d9fd6-9005-5bd1-b2fb-3ce080a4a3ed.html

Offline TripleSeven

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for all I know Musk has come onto the new thing with his touch screens...he is unique no airplane, nuclear control systems, oil field control (ie rigs off shore) or nuclear submarine...is using them...

Doesn't the F-35 use touch screens?

yeah and it also has the super helmet neither of which work well :)

Haven't seen any reported issues about F-35 touch screens. How about nuclear submarines. Looks like the Virginia Class uses them.

"There's no helm, either. The pilot - known as a helmsman on older subs - steers the $2 billion vessel using a joystick that resembles the controller from an old Atari video game system. He can also punch instructions onto a touch-screen control panel and set the boat on auto-pilot"

https://pilotonline.com/news/military/article_ed1d9fd6-9005-5bd1-b2fb-3ce080a4a3ed.html

the control panels on a VA class sub are much like the Starliner...you can punch in commands that are registered on the touchscreens but how you punch them in...is the key :)


the "helm" just has a different control ON Lex Class carriers...CV2...they didnt have a helm either

see how it all works out :)

Online Coastal Ron

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for all I know Musk has come onto the new thing with his touch screens...he is unique no airplane, nuclear control systems, oil field control (ie rigs off shore) or nuclear submarine...is using them...

Doesn't the F-35 use touch screens?

yeah and it also has the super helmet neither of which work well :)

Haven't seen any reported issues about F-35 touch screens. How about nuclear submarines. Looks like the Virginia Class uses them.

Back in the late 80's I was building flat panel plasma displays (4" thick), with touch panels, to be used in the engine rooms of the then future SSN-21 nuclear subs and the then upcoming DDG-51 naval destroyers.

Quote
"There's no helm, either. The pilot - known as a helmsman on older subs - steers the $2 billion vessel using a joystick that resembles the controller from an old Atari video game system. He can also punch instructions onto a touch-screen control panel and set the boat on auto-pilot"

From what I've been reading a lot of military systems are now using commercial game controllers for input devices because the current generation of recruits knows how to use them.

Of course those are not flight controls, but to your point control interfaces have changed since the days of sticks and rudders connected by cables.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Lar

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Reminiscing about Boeing's old aircraft is not on topic unless it's directly relevant.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Rocket Science

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Panel nicely reflects the evolution from Apollo through the Shuttle glass panel update (albeit simplified) as Fergie points out. I presume they can switch screens for redundancy. I like the traditional reliable "steam gauge" altimeter, makes me feel at home... :) Thanks for the article Chris G!
« Last Edit: 08/21/2018 12:35 AM by Rocket Science »
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Offline Patchouli

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Boeing have lot experience to draw one from all aircraft they've designed.


Exactly I think they probably considered touch screens but felt they would not be good to use while in a spacesuit as well as issues such as something accidentally getting triggered by something floating in the cabin coming into contact with the screen.

Offline Lar

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We've now had two different moderators spending time cleaning this thread up. Please stay on topic. If someone else is off topic, or you have another issue, don't engage, use the report to moderator button. Engaging just makes more work.
« Last Edit: 08/21/2018 05:10 AM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online docmordrid

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Nagvigating through on-screen menus via (?reliability?) physical buttons/keys, how very MSDOS 🙄

I think Boeing's approach to a user interface for avionics makes more sense.

CBS News...

Quote
>
[astronaut Bob] Behnken said he looked forward to flying the more automated Dragon, a welcome relief compared to the complexity of the space shuttle.

"There were about 3,000 switches inside (the shuttle) and there was no situation that the astronauts couldn't make worse by touching the wrong switch at the wrong time," he said. "We're grateful that the next vehicle we're going to fly on is going to be a little bit more automated."
>
« Last Edit: 08/21/2018 05:28 AM by docmordrid »
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Offline Torbjorn Larsson, OM

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The competition of ideas is a good thing, and we have to remember that reusable spacecraft of this type is a new thing (Shuttle was a different age/class), so no one really has good experience to draw from.

It will likely take a couple of generations of this type of vehicle before we'll know for sure what type of approach (which may not be either of these two) works best.

I had a premonition of what a Millennial expect when they are tourist flying these things. Trevor Noah had a segment on a possible Apple car, which was illustrated by a very iPhone-ish body with wheels and him joking on how telling "Siri, take us to Houston" (or equivalent) would not end well.

If it works out it looks like commercial users would expect a transition to a voice communication overlay as long as the craft can contact ground servers for a massive but cheap AI service.

Online Coastal Ron

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I had a premonition of what a Millennial expect when they are tourist flying these things. Trevor Noah had a segment on a possible Apple car, which was illustrated by a very iPhone-ish body with wheels and him joking on how telling "Siri, take us to Houston" (or equivalent) would not end well.

If it works out it looks like commercial users would expect a transition to a voice communication overlay as long as the craft can contact ground servers for a massive but cheap AI service.

It is a fact that autonomous control systems are getting better, and transportation manufacturers are adding more of them over time, not less, so the trend is clear.

To me the choice that Boeing has made reflects a lack of trust that they understand all of the possible failure modes, and there is no way of knowing if they are right until they fly enough.

For SpaceX, for the Dragon series of spacecraft specifically, they apparently feel that they understand all the possible failure modes, and what happens when their automated systems work and don't work. And again, there is no way to know if they are right until they fly enough.

And I think it's too early to know whose approach is more inherently safe, especially since both spacecraft have different ways to fail and to respond to failure.

Anxious to see both in action in order to see what the workload is like...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Rocket Science

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From Bill's CBS article contrasting the Shuttle's 3000 switches in a seemingly negative light in term of complexity. The CST-100 will never be able to perform the multi-roles the Orbiter did including on orbit duration independent of ISS so it's a bit of a red herring... Plus it was a vehicle utilizing the best known technology of it's time that worked pretty much at 100 percent reliability which is the whole point in terms of mission ops and crew safety...
 
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Online theonlyspace

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The Starliner controls seem much better. Everything is right up front visible incase the pilot needs immediately  or wants to manually fly the ship, Just like Mercury astronauts way back in 1960 wanted controls so not the ground or computers fly ship. No man in the can!!! This is much better than Space X, plus the pilot is much closer to a forward facing window to observe docking not have to watch some screen.

Offline TripleSeven

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I had a premonition of what a Millennial expect when they are tourist flying these things. Trevor Noah had a segment on a possible Apple car, which was illustrated by a very iPhone-ish body with wheels and him joking on how telling "Siri, take us to Houston" (or equivalent) would not end well.

If it works out it looks like commercial users would expect a transition to a voice communication overlay as long as the craft can contact ground servers for a massive but cheap AI service.

It is a fact that autonomous control systems are getting better, and transportation manufacturers are adding more of them over time, not less, so the trend is clear.

To me the choice that Boeing has made reflects a lack of trust that they understand all of the possible failure modes, and there is no way of knowing if they are right until they fly enough.

For SpaceX, for the Dragon series of spacecraft specifically, they apparently feel that they understand all the possible failure modes, and what happens when their automated systems work and don't work. And again, there is no way to know if they are right until they fly enough.

And I think it's too early to know whose approach is more inherently safe, especially since both spacecraft have different ways to fail and to respond to failure.

Anxious to see both in action in order to see what the workload is like...

I agree with that...its not lack of trust, its just prudent design AND it is enabling the inherent flexibility of people to "operate.  boeings theory on automation in terms of problem solving is that it takes the system to a stable state...then waits for human guidance...
« Last Edit: 08/21/2018 04:30 PM by TripleSeven »

Online Coastal Ron

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It is a fact that autonomous control systems are getting better, and transportation manufacturers are adding more of them over time, not less, so the trend is clear.

To me the choice that Boeing has made reflects a lack of trust that they understand all of the possible failure modes, and there is no way of knowing if they are right until they fly enough.

For SpaceX, for the Dragon series of spacecraft specifically, they apparently feel that they understand all the possible failure modes, and what happens when their automated systems work and don't work. And again, there is no way to know if they are right until they fly enough.

And I think it's too early to know whose approach is more inherently safe, especially since both spacecraft have different ways to fail and to respond to failure.

Anxious to see both in action in order to see what the workload is like...

I agree with that...its not lack of trust, its just prudent design AND it is enabling the inherent flexibility of people to "operate.  boeings theory on automation in terms of problem solving is that it takes the system to a stable state...then waits for human guidance...

The Boeing approach assumes the human pilot will always have more information than autonomous systems will when an off-nominal situation occurs, and that the human pilot will be able to react quickly enough in response.

Having said that, it still could be the case that the autonomous systems Boeing has created will always be able to handle the off-nominal situations that could come up, and that humans will never need to provide manual input. In other words, the autonomous vehicle team could end up surprising the human interactions team, and Boeing will later decide to simplify the manual controls available to human pilots.

And having autonomous systems that are better than human pilots should be the goal, since that will increase safety and likely lead to reductions in overall cost to access space.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline TripleSeven

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It is a fact that autonomous control systems are getting better, and transportation manufacturers are adding more of them over time, not less, so the trend is clear.

To me the choice that Boeing has made reflects a lack of trust that they understand all of the possible failure modes, and there is no way of knowing if they are right until they fly enough.

For SpaceX, for the Dragon series of spacecraft specifically, they apparently feel that they understand all the possible failure modes, and what happens when their automated systems work and don't work. And again, there is no way to know if they are right until they fly enough.

And I think it's too early to know whose approach is more inherently safe, especially since both spacecraft have different ways to fail and to respond to failure.

Anxious to see both in action in order to see what the workload is like...

I agree with that...its not lack of trust, its just prudent design AND it is enabling the inherent flexibility of people to "operate.  boeings theory on automation in terms of problem solving is that it takes the system to a stable state...then waits for human guidance...

The Boeing approach assumes the human pilot will always have more information than autonomous systems will when an off-nominal situation occurs, and that the human pilot will be able to react quickly enough in response.

Having said that, it still could be the case that the autonomous systems Boeing has created will always be able to handle the off-nominal situations that could come up, and that humans will never need to provide manual input. In other words, the autonomous vehicle team could end up surprising the human interactions team, and Boeing will later decide to simplify the manual controls available to human pilots.

And having autonomous systems that are better than human pilots should be the goal, since that will increase safety and likely lead to reductions in overall cost to access space.

as we say in Turkey "tabi tabi" sort of.  The Boeing theory is that the human pilot will always be able to diagnose the "dynamic situation" better than the automation.  So for instance, in airplanes Airbus planes will excecute a rejected take off without any input from the pilot, ie the pilot cannot even stop it....boeing requires the pilot to at least initiate the rejected take off...then depending on how "new" the design is...it will "help" in the configuration of the plane. 

I would be uncomfortable saying that the human pilot would have "more information" because in Boeing world, the automation feeds information to the "human" (the pilot) in various ways...this is also how Boeing deals with drones BTW there is a human "somewhere".

the RTO is illustrative of quick configurations...the entire decision, and airplane config changes must be done in 3.5 seconds to meet certification requirements...ie lift or stop on a runway at a certain mass

doing that...is all up to the pilot :)

PS  Airbus got "nicked" on that witht heir 350...they were demonstrating it to their US launch customer...Delta and well it aborted on the runway near V1...a sensor failed :)

« Last Edit: 08/21/2018 07:45 PM by TripleSeven »

Offline jbenton

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I would be uncomfortable saying that the human pilot would have "more information" because in Boeing world, the automation feeds information to the "human" (the pilot) in various ways...this is also how Boeing deals with drones BTW there is a human "somewhere".


I believe the technical term is "man in the loop" at least in the defense sector.

Offline clongton

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Boeing have lot experience to draw one from all aircraft they've designed.

Exactly I think they probably considered touch screens but felt they would not be good to use while in a spacesuit as well as issues such as something accidentally getting triggered by something floating in the cabin coming into contact with the screen.

It's not that one approach is better than the other, it's all about what your experience base is. In the case of Boeing, they have tons of experience doing things with hardware that provides an active pilot with the control he needs. On the other hand the experience base of the entire generation that is building their spacecraft is software based automation, controlled by touchscreens (think ipad and laptops), providing a passive pilot with the information he needs. People build what they know how to build.

As to the comment about something floating in the cabin coming into contact with the screen, that's impossible. Touchscreens require a tactile touch, like a finger or other body part. For example think trying to type a text message on your ipad and touching the electronic keypad with a pencil point. Nothing happens - until you toss the pencil and use your finger. Not just anything will do. It must be a tactile touch, whether a finger or a tactile surface on a gloved fingertip.

So both are equally proficient at doing what they are designed to do. The only important thing here is that NASA has certified both approaches so both spacecraft are good to go. I have my preference, but in the end it is irrelevant, so I won't mention it.
« Last Edit: 08/21/2018 10:20 PM by clongton »
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Offline envy887

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Boeing have lot experience to draw one from all aircraft they've designed.

Exactly I think they probably considered touch screens but felt they would not be good to use while in a spacesuit as well as issues such as something accidentally getting triggered by something floating in the cabin coming into contact with the screen.

It's not that one approach is better than the other, it's all about what your experience base is. In the case of Boeing, they have tons of experience doing things with hardware that provides an active pilot with the control he needs. On the other hand the experience base of the entire generation that is building their spacecraft is software based automation, controlled by touchscreens (think ipad and laptops), providing a passive pilot with the information he needs. People build what they know how to build.

As to the comment about something floating in the cabin coming into contact with the screen, that's impossible. Touchscreens require a tactile touch, like a finger or other body part. For example think trying to type a text message on your ipad and touching the electronic keypad with a pencil point. Nothing happens - until you toss the pencil and use your finger. Not just anything will do. It must be a tactile touch, whether a finger or a tactile surface on a gloved fingertip.

So both are equally proficient at doing what they are designed to do. The only important thing here is that NASA has certified both approaches so both spacecraft are good to go. I have my preference, but in the end it is irrelevant, so I won't mention it.

That's not exactly how a touchscreen works. If those are cap touch (like an iPad) any object that simulates a the change in capacitance like a finger touch can cause the screen to sense a "touch". This is why you can use a stylus on an iPad, or a special glove.

However, there are some software workarounds to limit false touch readings, and there just aren't that many objects that can simulate a finger touch, especially if the contents of the capsule are screened to minimize them.

Also, objects floating around can also depress a mechanical button (and with that there is much less sensitivity to the size or material properties of the object), so I don't see much of an advantage to either system in this regard.

Offline leovinus

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I had a premonition of what a Millennial expect when they are tourist flying these things. Trevor Noah had a segment on a possible Apple car, which was illustrated by a very iPhone-ish body with wheels and him joking on how telling "Siri, take us to Houston" (or equivalent) would not end well.

If it works out it looks like commercial users would expect a transition to a voice communication overlay as long as the craft can contact ground servers for a massive but cheap AI service.

It is a fact that autonomous control systems are getting better, and transportation manufacturers are adding more of them over time, not less, so the trend is clear.

To me the choice that Boeing has made reflects a lack of trust that they understand all of the possible failure modes, and there is no way of knowing if they are right until they fly enough.

For SpaceX, for the Dragon series of spacecraft specifically, they apparently feel that they understand all the possible failure modes, and what happens when their automated systems work and don't work. And again, there is no way to know if they are right until they fly enough.

And I think it's too early to know whose approach is more inherently safe, especially since both spacecraft have different ways to fail and to respond to failure.

Anxious to see both in action in order to see what the workload is like...

I agree with that...its not lack of trust, its just prudent design AND it is enabling the inherent flexibility of people to "operate.  boeings theory on automation in terms of problem solving is that it takes the system to a stable state...then waits for human guidance...

From my point of view, this discussion is reminiscent of the 2007 discussions about touchscreen-oriented iPhone vs button-oriented Blackberry, Palm, Motorola, Samsung, Nokia phones. The latter group stuck with a button-oriented phone until Apple success proved a touchscreen-oriented approach was just as effective, and a big sales hit. You could loosely argue that the latter group stayed with the proven design, until a breakthrough design proved it was just as good if not better.

The key term in the discussion is "design" and Apple's objective were different from the competing group.

Based on such a loose historical analogue, I feel we are in a similar situation now. While SpaceX designed a more revolutionary control screen for commercial crew, it seems Boeing went the more traditional way. Without a lot of usage evidence, we might agree that the solutions are different but none is better than the other until we have more evidence. I also have the impression that SpaceX design team is a lot like Apple's user-oriented design team, while Boeing's team seems a more traditional airplane mindset.

On the bright side, as others have pointed out, having two working user interface (UI) approaches to compare to do the same task is a UI designers dream. Am looking forward to summary report from NASA, Boeing, SpaceX on how to improve the UI even more in future spaceships.

Exciting times!

EDIT: spelling
« Last Edit: 08/22/2018 01:17 AM by leovinus »

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