TitleHuman control of multiple unmanned vehicles: effects of interface type on execution and task switching times
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsSquire, P, Trafton, JG, Parasuraman, R
Conference NameProceedings of the 1st ACM SIGCHI/SIGART conference on Human-robot interaction
Conference LocationNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number1-59593-294-1
Keywordsautomation, delegation, human-robot interaction, interruption, playbook, task switching, unmanned vehicles

The number and type of unmanned vehicles sought in military operations continues to grow. A critical consideration in designing these systems is identifying interface types or interaction schemes that enhance an operator's ability to supervise multiple unmanned vehicles. Past research has explored how interface types impact overall performance measures (e.g. mission execution time), but has not extensively examined other human performance factors that might influence human-robot interaction. Within a dynamic military environment, it is particularly important to assess how interfaces impact an operator's ability to quickly adapt and alter the unmanned vehicle's tasking. To assess an operator's ability to confront this changing environment, we explored the impact of interface type on task switching. Research has shown performance costs (i.e. increased time response) when individuals switch between different tasks. Results from this study suggest that this task switching effect is also seen when participants controlling multiple unmanned vehicles switch between different strategies. Results also indicate that when utilizing a flexible delegation interface, participants did not incur as large a switch cost effect as they did when using an interface that allowed only the use of fixed automated control of the unmanned vehicles.

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