Kurtulus Izzetoglu is Associate Research Professor at Drexel University, Philadelphia, U.S.A. His research interests include human performance, learning, training, and portable neurophysiological sensors. His research projects mainly focus on development of the performance assessment metrics, wearable sensor, novel algorithms and techniques to deploy the neuro-technology systems for various application areas, such as pilot/operator training, joint systems-human performance assessment in air transportation domain. Over the last half decade, he has been working with academic partners, federal agencies including DoD, FAA, NIH, and corporate partners. He is currently leading Drexel University’s efforts for the NextGen Research with FAA’s William J Hughes Tech Center, and for the FAA Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) – Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE). Select research projects he has been involved in 1) quantitative assessment of expertise development and cognitive workload of air traffic controllers, pilots, UAS ground controllers, 2) cognitive baselining and index developments, 3) use of neuro technology to improve pilot training.
We have witnessed the steady increase in technologies that have allowed unmanned systems to expand their capability, whilst at the same time increasing their potential application. In the past we have tended to focus predominantly on larger UAS, with major projects attempting to better understand the constraints related to operating UAS in different classes of airspace. Previous data has indicated that there is a significant human factor that contributes to UAS mishaps and incidents (Williams, 2004; Giese, Carr & Chahl, 2013). There are several important human factors issues we need to consider when evaluating the operator interaction with an unmanned system. The predominant factor in this instance is the nature of remoteness between the platform and the operator. The significant reduction of contextual cues that we would normally associate with manned aviation in the cockpit can no longer be considered, and thus different forms of ensuring the operator is brought into the control loop with the aircraft under his/her control. In some instances we can see an increase in reliance on highly automated systems that either provide information to other components of the aircraft (e.g. sensors to inform sense and avoid actions), or directly to the flight direction of the aircraft – essentially designating the operator as a supervisor of the system under their control. This presentation will discuss the issues surrounding key human factor issues that relate to UAS operation, with particular reference to the growing interest in using advanced automation and autonomy to control the platform(s). This is particularly relevant as we observe changes in regulations surrounding small UAS.