On the Human–Machine Interaction of Unmanned Aerial System Mission Specialists Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper surveys the human-machine interaction technologies supporting the Mission Specialist role in unmanned aerial systems (UASs). The Mission Specialist role is one of three formal human team member roles extracted from the UAS-related literature (the others are Flight Director and Pilot), but unlike the Pilot role, the interface needs have not been established. The interfaces used by 17 micro, small, medium altitude long endurance (MALE) and high altitude long endurance (HALE) platforms are examined to determine 1) what type of user interface technologies are present and/or available; 2) how the Mission Specialist currently or could interact with the user interface technology; and 3) what are the perceived positive and negative aspects of this user interface technology in the context of the UAS human-robot team roles. Micro and small UAVs pose significant user interface limitations for the Mission Specialist role and may produce unintentional interaction conflicts between the Mission Specialist role and the Pilot, potentially resulting in suboptimal performance and loss of robustness. The survey is expected to serve as a reference for future design and refinement of user interfaces for UAS and a foundation for better understanding human-robot interaction in UAS. © 2012 IEEE.

author list (cited authors)

  • Peschel, J. M., & Murphy, R. R.

citation count

  • 39

publication date

  • January 2013