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Modeling Workload Impact in Multiple Unmanned Vehicle Supervisory Control

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3 Author(s)
Donmez, B. ; Dept. of Mech. & Ind. Eng., Univ. of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada ; Nehme, C. ; Cummings, M.L.

Discrete-event simulations for futuristic unmanned vehicle (UV) systems enable a cost- and time-effective methodology for evaluating various autonomy and human-automation design parameters. Operator mental workload is an important factor to consider in such models. We suggest that the effects of operator workload on system performance can be modeled in such a simulation environment through a quantitative relation between operator attention and utilization, i.e., operator busy time used as a surrogate real-time workload measure. To validate our model, a heterogeneous UV simulation experiment was conducted with 74 participants. Performance-based measures of attention switching delays were incorporated in the discrete-event simulation model by UV wait times due to operator attention inefficiencies (WTAIs). Experimental results showed that WTAI is significantly associated with operator utilization (UT) such that high UT levels correspond to higher wait times. The inclusion of this empirical UT-WTAI relation in the discrete-event simulation model of multiple UV supervisory control resulted in more accurate replications of data, as well as more accurate predictions for alternative UV team structures. These results have implications for the design of future human-UV systems, as well as more general multiple task supervisory control models.

Published in:

Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 6 )