In the video clip of this interview, captioned:
General Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing Commander, talks about the Autonomous Flight Safety System, or AFSS -- a new, automated way of having a rocket self-destruct. Video by Malcolm Denemark. (emphasis added)
in the Florida Today article Only on Falcon 9: Automated system can terminate SpaceX rocket launches, General Monteith says (my attempt at transcription):
"Autonomous flight safety system is a game-changer. It increases public safety, it increases our throughput or capacity on the range, and reduces cost to the customers, and eventually cost to the air force. [...] we essentially remove the man or the woman out of the loop, which saves us about three and a half seconds of decision time during flight if there is an anomalous profile. So if the flight is going off-course, it gives the rocket an extra three and a half seconds to get back on course, and correct itself."
Later in the video the self-destruct option is also mentioned.
I really have two questions.
Despite the lengthy list of things described in the interview that have to happen when the decision is made on the ground, is any significant fraction of the three-and-a-half second benefit really coming from moving the decision from ground to rocket, or is essentially all of it really coming from moving the decision from human to computer, and the computer could be on the ground or in the rocket without more than a small fraction of a second difference?
The nature of spaceflight is such that the rocket's flight system is in fact making life-and-death decisions continuously. But with a crewed flight (or perhaps sooner than anticipated a flight with passengers), would the Autonomous Flight Safety System or AFSS now be able to initiate a self-destruct that would include the crew?