Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Frank Ciarallo (Committee Member), Mary Fendley (Advisor), Subhashini Ganapathy (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSEgr)


Human supervisory control (HSC) systems that require intermittent human input of commands to create actions within the system are helpful in reducing the human's mental workload (MWL). HSC systems are commonly employed in the piloting and control of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). As the ratio of UAVs to operators increases there is a clear need to understand the effort required to complete task requirements. Specifically, this research explored MWL relative to multi-modal communications using subjective and physiological measures. To accomplish this, a cognitive model was developed to understand the relationship between tasks and MWL. MWL was manipulated by measuring three in-flight variables: increased communication tasks, task interruptions, and a combination of these two variables. Results showed that task interruptions have the greatest influence on MWL suggesting that reducing the tasks complexity rather than number of UAVs, would be more effective in reducing operator workload.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biomedical, Industrial & Human Factors Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.