Assessing the Effects of Multimodal Communications on Mental Workload During the Supervision of Multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Sharon Bommer, Mary Fendley
2015 International Journal of Unmanned Systems Engineering  
10 "Distribution A: Approved for public release; distribution unlimited. 88ABW Cleared 12/03/2013; 88ABW-2013-5056." flight is mainly accomplished by teams of human operators using multimodal communications for crew coordination. In the computer-human interface, multimodal means interfacing using more than one sensory-motor modality (touch, sight, etc.) (Taylor, Neel, & Bouwhuis, 2000) . In this system, there are typically three modes of communication utilized to support the UAV communication
more » ... op: radio, internet relay chat (IRC) and telephone. The radio provides secure voice communications. The IRC provides channels to send text messages in real time, and the telephone is used as a back-up system if radio or chat is not operative. Therefore, the ability to manage multiple modes of communication is a critical aspect of the pilot's tasks, because "frequent, unpredictable, and oftentimes overwhelming, volumes of communication events can produce unmanageable levels of system induced workload" (Pond, et al., 2012) . And, the risks of missed communications could be substantial in the command and control system, causing the UAV to collide or wreck with a manned vehicle. So, in efforts to understand the communication activity associated with the operation of UAVs, a Comms Usage Diagram (CUD) was developed. Comms Usage Diagram The Comms Usage Diagram (CUD) describes collaborative activity between users that are not geographically co-located (Stanton, Salmon, Walker, Baber, & Jenkins, 2010) . This method is generic in nature but can be applied in many domains to include, naval warfare, fire services, air traffic control, military, rail and aviation. The output of the CUD method provides a description of the task under analysis along with a description of the
doi:10.14323/ijuseng.2015.4 fatcat:zpcxzxor3ncyxffzbd2fnruyti