Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Gary Burns (Committee Member), John Flach (Committee Chair), Thomas Hughes (Committee Member), Ion Juvina (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


In order to meet the demand for enabling one operator to control multiple heterogeneous unmanned vehicles numerous automated support systems are being developed. These systems are too often focused on replacing, rather than supporting, the human decision maker. In contrast, the Intelligent Multi-UxV Planner with Adaptive Collaborative/Control Technologies (IMPACT) system was designed from a collaborative systems approach that allowed human operators to work with autonomous systems to accomplish mission tasks. Multiple cognitive task analyses were conducted with base defense experts as well as unmanned vehicles (UV) operators to inform the development of human-autonomy interfaces (HAI) that were designed to support an operator’s skill-based, rule-based, and knowledge-based behaviors using ecological interface design principles. This research describes the development and empirical evaluation of the IMPACT HAI using a synthetic task environment in which participants used twelve UVs to support base defense operations. A 2 X 2 within-participants experimental design was used to compare IMPACT’s HAI to a Baseline HAI condition across two levels of mission complexity. Eight participants completed four hour-long trials in which they were responsible for responding to incoming mission tasks. Participants both preferred and performed better with the IMPACT HAI as compared to the Baseline HAI. These results suggest that ecological interface design principles can be used to generate user interface concepts that not only support skill-based behaviors, but also rule-based and knowledge-based behaviors.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Psychology

Year Degree Awarded