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Implications for automation assistance in unmanned aerial system operator training




Blitch, John G., author
Clegg, Benjamin A., advisor
Cleary, Anne, committee member
Anderson, Charles, committee member

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The integration of automated modules into unmanned systems control has had a positive impact on operational effectiveness across a variety of challenging domains from battlefields and disaster areas to the National Airspace and distant planets. Despite the generally positive nature of such technological progress, however, concerns for complacency and other automation-induced detriments have been established in a growing body of empirical literature derived from both laboratory research and operational reviews. Given the military's demand for new Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operators, there is a need to explore how such concerns might extend from the operational realm of experienced professionals into the novice training environment. An experiment was conducted to investigate the influence of automation on training efficiency using a Predator UAS simulator developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in a modified replication of previous research. Participants were trained in a series of basic maneuvers, with half receiving automated support only on a subset of maneuvers. A subsequent novel landing test showed poorer performance for the group that received assistance from automation during training. Implications of these findings are discussed.


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cognitive workload
unmanned systems


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