Controlling drones?

Technetium 98

Banded Mongoose
I'm not sure if rules for this sort of thing have already been written, but I'm trying to figure out some robotic starship crew, and I found the rules for controllers to be a bit vague, so I homebrewed these. I'm alright with the first bit, but the second needs some serious work, and I'm not sure how to go about it.

As robot brains become more advanced, the line between commanding and controlling robots become blurred. Generally, brains of Advanced complexity and higher can receive and interpret an order through normal means of communication, and (if willing) will follow the order to the best of their ability. Lesser brains, however, lack the capacity to interpret orders, and as such require a controller. Note that Advanced and higher Brains can still be subject to a controller, they just do not need one.

When a robot is being controlled, its skill DMs are decided by the operator's skill in that particular field, limited by the operator's Electronics (Remote Ops) skill and the max skill of the controller. Alternatively, Drone Control software can be utilised, allowing the use of the drone's skill DMs or Expert software. Drone Control software is described further below.

In either case, if the skill uses mental characteristics, then the controller's INT (or EDU, if applicable) DM applies. However, if the skill uses physical characteristics, then the drone's characteristic DMs apply.

For example, an operator with Pilot (Small Craft) 3 and Electronics (Remote Ops) 3 is using an Enhanced Swarm Controller to control a wing of fighters piloted by robots with DEX 9. As the Enhanced Swarm Controller has a max skill of 2, the operator may only apply +2 through their skills. However, as Pilot (Small Craft) is DEX based, the DEX DM of the robots (+1) may also be applied, giving the drones a final DM of +3.

Alternatively, a robot with INT 12, Engineer (J-Drive) 3, and Electronics (Remote Ops) 2 is using an Advanced Drone Controller to control a repair drone. The Advanced Drone Controller has a max skill of 3, but the operator only has a Remote Ops skill of 2, limiting the skill DM to 2. As Engineer (J-Drive) is INT based, however, the INT DM of the operator (+2) may also be applied, giving the repair drone a final DM of +4.
Typically installed on a computer linked to a controller, Drone Control software allows the operator to make use of a drone's skill DMs. This includes a drone's hardware-derived skills, such as Autopilot and Recon Sensors. If a drone has no skill DMs at all, then Drone Control software can be twinned with Expert software, working much the same as Intelligent Interface. Note that Expert software with Drone Control can be used with physical skills, so long as it is limited to controlling the drone.

For example, an operator with no Flyer or Electronics (Remote Ops) skills is attempting to control a drone with no brain installed. To do so, they acquire a Computer/3, and install Drone Control. This allows the use of the drone's Enhanced Autopilot, granting an effective Flyer 2. In order to use the drone's light autocannon, the operator installs Expert/2 in Heavy Weapons (Vehicle), resulting in a skill DM of 1.

Any advice/help would be appreciated!

Edit: I forgot about some drone controller's Control DMs. Uh, maybe they could be treated as effective Electronics (Remote Ops) skill, so more advanced drone controllers need less training to use effectively?
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Banded Mongoose
I'm checking to see if there are any implants that allow biological beings to directly control drones other than a BIACS. Specifically, the entry for the Robotic Drone Controller (Robot book, p. 44) the last paragraph read "If desired, a robot could install a less machine optimised ‘biologically-controlled’ drone controller." would it make sense to use that as an implant (presumably costing 3 x its normal cost) which only allows the character to control a single drone. Does that make sense?


Cosmic Mongoose
What I was referring to in perhaps overly clever language was the Drone Control Interface - page 79. If you were going to use that as an implant, you would also need an implanted communications device (or an implanted Drone Control Console p.119). It would be more akin to a present-time drone control experience. and you would still need a neural comm or some other interface with the brain to receive rudimentary sensory feedback (sight and sound, and by TL11, smell) and give commands. The Drone Control Helmet (p.120) is probably a less invasive option and only half the cost and two TLs lower compared to a BIACS.


If you had a wafer jack and neural link, then you could use the drone control software to control one drone. Not the cheapest option but useful if you already have the implants, and gives greater flexibility of use.


Emperor Mongoose
In his short story Names. MWM has the protagonist of the story copy his personality/memories over to thirty drone missiles by copying his "wafer" onto each missile.
Finally, the checklist included a footnote. A technician could wafer transfer to the
warhead for a test drive...
I literally yelled at Fourth to pull the access wafers from each of the torpedoes...
He dumped a handful on my console, and I carefully touched the first to the nape of my neck and felt the magnets pull. I mentally saw a series of disclaimer and warning screens that I accepted. I felt a momentary dizziness, saw a completion text screen, and removed the wafer. Somewhere in there I told Fourth what to do. As I completed each wafer, he ran to torpedoes and reinserted. I had to be careful not to confuse new and programmed wafers...
POV now switches to the personality within the missile:
I realized that I could fly. That I was flying, floating above the deck. I felt the
presence of others just off to the left and right and up and down. The cargo doors parted,
and I moved forward, through, and out.