Proceedings of the AIAA InfoTech Conference, Sonoma, CA (May 2007).
Future unmanned systems in the military will be highly heterogeneous in nature, with vehicles from multiple domains—aerial, underwater, and land—working in collaborative teams to complete a variety of missions. The complexity of supervising these teams will be enormous and will rely on human creativity, judgment, and experience. Therefore, the design and development of mission planning and monitoring technologies must be rooted in a deep understanding of the human operator’s role as mission manager, and must effectively address the reasoning skills and limitations of both the human and autonomous intelligent system. In this paper, we present our work to approach these supervisory issues from a human-centered perspective. We first review the findings of a cognitive task analysis, through which we defined critical informational requirements and developed display interfaces for human operators developing and executing mission plans for a small team of underwater and aerial unmanned vehicles. These findings raise several operations issues for unmanned vehicle management, namely (1) vehicle and task heterogeneity and (2) the coordination of command and control across a vehicle team. We discuss the impact of both of these design requirements on the human-centered development of mission planning tools for unmanned systems. Finally, we introduce an investigative approach to support the rapid evaluation of interfaces that flexibly accommodate alternative command and control philosophies for heterogeneous automated systems using a combination of modeling and human-in-the-loop evaluation processes.
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