Boeing, NASA, & NATO - B 787, Drones & New Rules for Cyberwar
Boeing’s grounded 787s moved closer to resuming flight just before the Easter break when the US FAA Approved Boeing's plan to redesign and certify the plane’s lithium-ion batteries to reduce fire risks. Two 787 aircraft will do the flight tests. In a press release, the FAA and the Department of Transportation emphasised that the plane won’t be allowed to carry passengers until the agencies are convinced that Boeing’s fix is safe. The approval “requires Boeing to conduct extensive testing and analysis to demonstrate compliance with the applicable safety regulations and special conditions,” the release said. Neither the US NTSB nor Boeing have been able to pinpoint the cause of the short circuit in one of the battery's eight cells that caused the fire. This means that the new Boeing design is focused on reducing the possibility of such a fire, or the damage it might cause.
However Donald Sadaway, a professor of materials chemistry at MIT, isn't so sure. Wendy Kaufman, National Public Radio (NPR) News reported Professor Sadaway who stated "I would feel better if I knew that they had an active cooling system to prevent those cells from increase in temperature to the point where ultimately they ignite." Professor Sadaway points to just such a system on the Chevy Volt car battery. Boeing believes that barring any unanticipated problems, it can complete the tests within weeks and hopes the FAA would move quickly after that. Some analysts believe that Boeing are looking at May." By then, Boeings flagship jet will have been grounded for roughly four months. A Boeing presentation of the repairs can be accessed at: http://www.boeing.com/787-media-resource/docs/787-Battery-Solution.pdf
On the subject of Drones and Remote Piloted Aircraft (RPA) accidents, NASA recently released an e-book entitles Crash Course – Lessons Learned from Accidents Involving Remotely Piloted and Autonomous Aircraft.This case study based report concludes with the observation that it is important to remember that although there are no humans on board remotely piloted aircraft, there are numerous humans involved in all aspects of RPA operations. Human factors affect RPA safety at every level of design, management, maintenance, and flight operations. The case studies cited in the NASA volume contain (we quite) "a shocking number of incidents involving improper procedures, training deficiencies, management problems, and supervisory failures. Additionally, it seems apparent that many accidents could be prevented with simple modifications to the human-machine interface. For example, inexpensive video cameras could provide an RPA operator with peripheral vision. A ground cockpit could be equipped with an aural cue to alert the pilot to engine failure. A switch lockout or onscreen popup display could serve as a fail-safe to prevent mistakes when switching from one control console to another. Such common sense ideas seem fundamental, but as of this writing, none of these concepts have been adopted." The full NASA report can be accessed at: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/732725main_crash_course-ebook.pdf
The Tallinn Manual is the result of the deliberations of a group of distinguished international law practitioners and scholars who were brought together to examine how existing legal norms could be applied to conflict in the cyber domain. This project began in 2009 when the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence (NATO CCD COE) invited these experts to produce a manual on the law governing cyber warfare. The Tallinn Manual focuses heavily on the principles of jus ad bellum, the international law governing the resort to force by States as an instrument of their national policy, and jus in bello, the international law regulating the conduct of armed conflict. This manual does not focus on cybersecurity, but rather how international laws regarding warfare can be adapted to fit similar conflicts in cyberspace. It is a unique document in terms of both the topics explored, and the significant depth of an analysis on these pertinent, contemporary issues.