Operator scheduling strategies in supervisory control of multiple UAVs
The application of network centric operations to time-constrained command and control environments will mean that human operators will be increasingly responsible for multiple simultaneous supervisory control tasks. One such futuristic application will be the control of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by a single operator. To achieve such performance in complex, time critical, and high risk settings, automated systems will be required both to guarantee rapid system response, as well as manageable workload for operators. Through the development of a simulation test bed for human supervisory control of multiple independent UAVs by a single operator, this paper presents recent efforts to investigate workload mitigation strategies as a function of increasing automation. A human-in-the-loop experiment revealed that under low workload conditions, operators' cognitive strategies were relatively robust across increasing levels of automated decision support. However, when provided with explicit automated recommendations and with the ability to negotiate with external agencies for delays in arrival times for targets, operators inappropriately fixated on the need to globally optimize their schedules. In addition, without explicit visual representation of uncertainty, operators tended to treated all probabilities uniformly. This study also revealed that operators who reached cognitive saturation adapted two very distinct management strategies, which led to varying degrees of success. Lastly, operators with management-by-exception decision support exhibited evidence of automation bias. © 2007 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
Cummings, ML; Mitchell, PJ
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