dowlingm wrote: ↑Thu May 30, 2019 11:48 pmAircraft have INS, GPWS, TCAS, ILS. Their pilots can operate one off charters with charts loaded on an iPad ...
iPad training didn't work too well for the 737 Max. (Training for flying the new version of the plane, not the route, but still expecting pilots to pick up intricate details that could save their flights from an iPad app.)
dowlingm wrote: ↑Thu May 30, 2019 11:48 pmTrains should be smarter, able to survive most things a dumb operator does and virtually everything a competent one does, and if the worst happens, Company should know what and where seconds after those on board do.
When PTC is fully operative they will be a step closer. But when (not if) PTC fails the operators (engineers, conductors) will need to be smarter than the technology that can never replace them. As crews rely more on PTC the door opens for them to become "dumb". If the computer runs the train and the engineer becomes a system monitor ("safety driver" in autonomous car terms) they will lose the experience to operate without the computers.
Technology has its limits ... There are people in the chair, whether it be in a pilot's seat or the engineer's chair, who need to be properly trained and supported for those times where the technology lets them down. When a system decides a course of action that will crash a plane or wreck a train. In the Cascade wreck the engineer did not receive proper training on the equipment nor the route and didn't have PTC to watch his back. He was set up to fail.
(And yes, I understand that the role of PTC is more of an electronic conductor, receiving and keeping track of dispatcher instructions, special instructions, physical characteristics, etc. not as an electronic engineer operating the train. But the usage can grow. Even at the electronic conductor level, it leaves the door open for a failure where a lightly "qualified" engineer is expected to operate hoping that PTC protects them and not in a good position if PTC fails.)