Coherent design of uninhabited aerial vehicle operations and control stations

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Gonzalez Castro, Luis Nicolas
Pritchett, Amy R.
Johnson, Eric N.
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This work presents the application of a cognitive engineering design method to the design of operational procedures and ground control station interfaces for uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs). Designing for UAV systems presents novel challenges, both in terms of selecting and presenting adequate information for effective teleoperation, and in creating operational procedures and ground control station interfaces that are robust to a range of UAV platforms and missions. Creating a coherent set of operating procedures, automatic functions and operator interfaces requires a systematic design approach that considers the system and the mission at different levels of abstraction and integrates the different element of the system. Several models are developed through the application of this cognitive engineering method. An analysis of the work of operating a UAV creates an abstraction decomposition space (ADS) model. The ADS helps identify the control tasks needed to operate the system. A strategies analysis then identifies methods for implementing these control tasks. The distribution of activities and roles between the human and automated components in the system is then considered in a social organization and cooperation analysis. These insights are applied to the design of coherent sets of operational procedures, ground control station interfaces and automatic functions for a specific UAV in support of a continuous target surveillance (CTS) mission. The importance of the coherence provided by the selected design method in the design of UAV operational procedures and ground control station interfaces is analyzed through a human in the loop simulation experiment for this mission. The results of the simulation experiment indicate that UAV controllers using coherently designed elements achieve significantly higher mission performance and experience lower workloads than those that when using incoherently matched elements.
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