Mental Workload: The UAS red herring?

Dale Richards

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


    In the past we have focused a great deal of research effort into examining the cognitive aspects of controlling unmanned systems. Traditional metrics of human performance can of course provide us with a great deal of insight as to the mechanics of an operator controlling an unmanned system, with situation awareness and mental workload being the two primary cognitive factors that rise to the top of the Human Factors list of concerns.
    However, as we move forward in UAS we are seeing a technology and operational shift towards small unmanned systems, and in turn a slow demand for the release of the line of sight constraint for communication. In order to achieve true beyond line of sight operations it is imperative that the UAS possesses a high degree of automation, and in some instances allow the human to delegate different levels of authority. As the operator releases direct flight inputs to the aircraft, and in some cases to multiple aircraft, the argument for applying good Human Factors design to the command and control elements of the system will focus less on alleviating mental workload on the operator, but rather supplying an operator with the right information in order to continue safe control of the aircraft under his/her control.
    This presentation will outline the importance of situational awareness and mental workload, but focus more on the more pressing issue that modern UAS will impose; that of human vigilance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
    EventHuman Factors in Aviation Safety - East Midlands Airport, Derby, United Kingdom
    Duration: 7 Nov 20168 Nov 2016


    ConferenceHuman Factors in Aviation Safety
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • UAV
    • Human Factors
    • mental workload
    • Vigilance


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