The role of human-automation consensus in multiple unmanned vehicle scheduling.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


This study examined the impact of increasing automation replanning rates on operator performance and workload when supervising a decentralized network of heterogeneous unmanned vehicles.


Futuristic unmanned vehicles systems will invert the operator-to-vehicle ratio so that one operator can control multiple dissimilar vehicles connected through a decentralized network. Significant human-automation collaboration will be needed because of automation brittleness, but such collaboration could cause high workload.


Three increasing levels of replanning were tested on an existing multiple unmanned vehicle simulation environment that leverages decentralized algorithms for vehicle routing and task allocation in conjunction with human supervision.


Rapid replanning can cause high operator workload, ultimately resulting in poorer overall system performance. Poor performance was associated with a lack of operator consensus for when to accept the automation's suggested prompts for new plan consideration as well as negative attitudes toward unmanned aerial vehicles in general. Participants with video game experience tended to collaborate more with the automation, which resulted in better performance.


In decentralized unmanned vehicle networks, operators who ignore the automation's requests for new plan consideration and impose rapid replans both increase their own workload and reduce the ability of the vehicle network to operate at its maximum capacity.


These findings have implications for personnel selection and training for futuristic systems involving human collaboration with decentralized algorithms embedded in networks of autonomous systems.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cummings, ML; Clare, A; Hart, C

Published Date

  • February 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 52 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 17 - 27

PubMed ID

  • 20653222

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1547-8181

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0018-7208

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0018720810368674


  • eng