Control of Multiple Unmanned Systems - Phase II (SPACMUS)

Period of Performance: 04/14/2003 - 04/14/2005


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Micro Analysis and Design, Inc.
4949 Pearl East Circle, Suite 300
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator


The Army is beginning a major force update that will use distributed unmanned vehicles as an integrated force element. Initial developments have been completed that theoretically allow a single soldier to control as many as 4 unmanned vehicles. However, there are no technologies available to assess future designs of a "one on many" control system to predict a soldier's ability to effectively control a number of unmanned vehicles in varying terrain, climate, and combat stressed conditions. This proposal describes a specific process that leverages previous work performed in the human factors industry and combines this work to provide an innovative and uniquely powerful soldier performance assessment tool. This soldier performance assessment tool, named Soldier Performance Assessment for Control of Multiple Unmanned Systems (SPACMUS), will utilize proven modeling and simulation techniques, coupled with operator workload and situational awareness measurement techniques to help understand the relationships between soldier performance and system parameters that ultimately affect how many unmanned systems a single soldier or group of soldiers can control. This project will establish the state of the art in assessing workload associated with control of multiple unmanned vehicles by a single controller or team of controllers. The tool developed for this effort will provide the ability to assess the workload and situational awareness demands imposed on a soldier while performing multiple control of heterogeneous unmanned vehicles with potentially different modalities (modes of control) that may be encountered in varying terrain or partial automation failure conditions. Principal benefits will be to provide the Army with a method to reduce operating and support cost by allowing studies of soldier capacity in controlling multiple unmanned vehicles and other command and control operations simultaneously on the battlefield. This assessment capability can ultimately lead to a reduction in the number of soldiers required to man the future force including the Future Combat System (FCS).