Predicting the Impact of Heterogeneity on Unmanned-Vehicle Team Performance

Nemhe, C.1, Kilgore, R.2 and Cummings, M.1

Proceedings of the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society 52nd Annual Meeting, New York, NY (September 2008)

Several recent studies have addressed the possible impact of using highly autonomous platforms to invert today’s multiple-operators-per-single-unmanned-vehicle control paradigm. These studies, however, have generally focused on homogeneous vehicle teams and have not addressed the potential effects of vehicle, capability, or mission type heterogeneity on operator control capacity. Important implications of heterogeneous unmanned teams include increases in the diversity of potential team configurations, as well as the diversity of possible attention allocation strategies that may be utilized by operators in managing a given vehicle team. This paper presents preliminary findings from a modeling and simulation effort exploring the impact of heterogeneity on the supervisory control of unmanned vehicle teams. Results from a discrete event simulation study suggest that performance costs of team heterogeneity are highly dependent on resultant changes in operator utilization. Heterogeneous teams that result in lower overall operator utilization may lead to improved performance under certain operator control strategies.

Humans and Automation Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Charles River Analytics

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