15th Colloquium: On drones and autonomy “Flying brains or airborne lemmings?”

21.03.2020 12:00
by Auris-E. Lipinksi
Alt-Tag here

Speaker: Michael Wieland


Saturday, 21st March 2020

Time: 12-18 o´clock

Mode of colloquium: online

Details about how to participate in the online colloquium:

We have decided for Jitsi as conference room for the meeting.

It is hosted on a private server: https://meet.prjx.de/phencoco


Registration: please send an e-mail to info@phencoco.net

(in the light of current events, the mode has changed to online.Registration is still encouraged, for our counts and preparation.)



11:30 - 12:00 Coffee at home

12:00 - 12:20 Intro

12:30 - 13:30 Presentation

13:30 - 14:00 Pause, food, drinks, coffee

14:00 - 18:00 Open discussion


Presentation summary:

Drones represent a subgroup of machines, more precisely robots. Formerly known as remotely piloted aircrafts the devices have reach reconnaissance internationally, since a Chinese company made it easy to take aerials from the little as 1000U$ in 2011. Since them probably more than 1M units have been sold and no news, movie or other media can resist to use stills or film sequences from the flying cameras. But drones are more if the definition applies that any flying object without a human aboard piloting the device is called unmanned aircraft. If so, any A320 that reduces the cockpit staff to zero would be a drone. Also a platform that rescues people of a burning 30 story building that is avoiding cables and lifts up with thrust produced by props or turbines.

Since this picture is alive in the head of the business managers, they recognized the fascination of the engineers. Almost daily, startups develop to offer a service or technology to transform current solutions airborne. Two main question normally decide on the business and the legal success of the organizations - does the idea make sense and offer a sustainable business and will operations follow the rules. The speaker invites thinkers from science, art and humanities to dig deeper into the question, what the society needs and accepts: “Flying brains or airborne lemmings?”

Speaker Details:

Michael Wieland studied electrical engineering at Technische Hochschule Nürnberg, developed one of the first MBA programs in Germany at Steinbeis Hochschule and graduated at this university in entrepreneurship himself. He is a training expert for executives, operations and event manager, as well as private pilot.

Currently he acts as head of the Association for Unmanned Aviation UAV DACH with 211 members from industry, university and operators of drones. Before that he founded several companies, including a UAS start-up for the integration of drones into the airspace. In addition to academic development, he always acted interdisciplinary and specialized in thinking and acting in an industry- and technology-agnostic way. Initiatives and founders ask him for advice and use his network to mediate between high tech and users, lawyers, legislators, and companies.Through coaching he helps young entrepreneurs in leadership and strategy. With his flying experience in sports planes, gliders and with drones he offers managers to test themselves in stressful situations.

He is an instructor for drone pilots according to LuftVO §21d and author of the rules of unmanned aviation. As an active member he is involved in the standardization groups of DIN NL131-01-04, the working group for unmanned aircraft of the VDI, ISO TC20/SC16, as head of SG3 at ASD-STAN D5WG8, and represents the industry in JARUS SCB Group 12 "at large".



On a lighter note, this man in Cyrus found a clever way to walk his dog using drone technology.

DRONE WALKS DOG: Amid a government-mandated lockdown due to coronavirus in Cyprus, one man found a clever way to walk his dog, Oliver, while adhering to safety measures. https://t.co/xxpmC4nAxW pic.twitter.com/0FC2fKyBaA

— ABC News (@ABC) March 20, 2020



Discussion points


  1. Background to the naming UAV – it was remotely piloted crafts before
  2. AGREE or NOT GREE? “I believe strongly that you cannot prove that your autonomous system will reach its goals, as well as a deterministic system, due to the decisions.“
  3. Should drones/ uav´s be flyable without any machine intervention/ set up?
  4. The problem with the SAE autonomy stages
  5. The balance of control and automation
  6. The henry ford assembly line has not been abolished, yet – why would we go back to self-determining people and machine. Is this a problem of standardisation? Is it just that self-determination makes standardisation so much harder.
  7. Only  20% of acccidents lead back to the airplanes, 80 % of the accidents are caused by humans – what does that mean for our future design?
  • Bad weather example, statistics have a problem though, because, there are no statistics on how many failure of computers were compensated by the pilots
  • Example of the plane landing in the Hudson river, saving people, while the first page in the book says: don´t land on rivers

Three big realms:

  1. Are processes and production lines that are efficient (in the original sense) dependent on standardisation and is this a problem for workers – why are assembly lines still checked up upon, by humans?
  2. AI and is standardisation important for AI?
  3. What is the connection between standardisation and ethics?

More Questions:

- How to work with accountability of AI, in case of a mishap.

- Is "feeling" not a better notion to pursue, to gain control over non-controllable entities - like machines, which cannot be punished in a way that will have an impact in any mode that resembles 'feeling' (check out the practical try  to collect data on emotions in the works of people from the mind and brain institute, dan zahavi´s subjectivity school, SME´s like minnt and Mr. Gaaschs work on AI and Phenomenology and many others. (SEE PHENOMENOLOGY).



  1. https://blogmickey.com/2020/03/latest-look-at-star-wars-galactic-starcruiser-hotel-construction-at-walt-disney-world
  2. https://dronelife.com/2019/12/09/alphapilot-challenge-winning-ai-team-drl-pilot/
  3. https://www.uavdach.org/?p=1296425
  4. https://www.volocopter.com/de/
  5. https://www.vdi.de/fileadmin/pages/vdi_de/redakteure/richtlinien/inhaltsverzeichnisse/2858040.pdf
  6. https://flyzipline.com
  7. https://pathmind.com/wiki/strong-ai-general-ai
  8. https://www.difference.wiki/strong-ai-vs-weak-ai/
  9. https://e3zine.com/strong-artificial-intelligence/



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