As the number of U.S. Air Force missions requiring UAVs has rapidly increased without commensurate increases in manpower, systems which permit a single operator to supervise and control multiple, highly-automated aircraft are being considered. The operator of such a system may be required to monitor and respond to voice communications for multiple UAVs, each of which can have aircraft specific call signs, which may impose excessive requirements on constrained operator attention, working memory, and cognitive processing. The current research investigates the cognitive load (number of aircraft call signs) an individual can handle and explores the effect of proactive interference (PI) within this application. The results indicate a reduction in performance as the number of call signs are increased from 5 to 7 in the presence of PI. Interestingly performance with 5 call signs without PI is lower than performance with 5 call signs in the presence of PI.
& Finomore, V.
(2015). The Cognition of Multi-Aircraft Control (MAC): Proactive Interference and Working Memory Capacity. 18th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 195-200.