An analysis of human causal factors in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) accidents
Powley, Edward H.
Hudgens, Bryan J.
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Human error has been identified as the major contributor in many severe aviation mishaps, even for accidents involving Unmanned Aircraft (UA) systems. The Department of Defense (DOD) has used the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) taxonomy successfully for ten years to discover the human error in UA mishaps. It is important not to ignore the indisputable human presence in UA and the possible human-related causal factors in UA mishaps so we might be better able to reduce and prevent possible incidents. HFACS with its four main and 19 subcategories is a useful framework for identifying which factors have arisen historically, and which of them should have priority. The results of this study reveals that among 287 causal factors attributed to 68 accidents, 65 percent of the factors were associated with humans. Moreover, this study also discloses that the rater who categorizes the factors can differently observe, understand, and interpret the findings of mishap investigation; thus, human error may even impact the categorization phase due to the rater’s perception. The research concluded that even though HFACS carried out its functionality well, further study is needed to conduct intense statistical analysis with unlimited data and to validate HFACS with more case studies and various raters.
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