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Workload Considerations in Urban Air Mobility  (2019)
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Urban air mobility (UAM) is receiving increased attention in aviation as a system for passenger and cargo-carrying new entrants in urban airspace. In order to develop a safe and efficient system, numerous possible concepts of operation for UAM are being explored throughout industry and research domains, the features and assumptions of which may differ according to near, medium and far term operations. Much of the current research into the development of UAM has dominantly focused on technological and engineering capabilities, such as vehicle development. Although these areas of research are essential to furthering UAM, research into the role of the human operator in UAM is limited. The research described in this paper aims to begin to address this gap by investigating the capabilities and implications of human operators as traffic managers in the UAM system, focusing on near-term UAM operations. A human in the loop air traffic control simulation was used to investigate the effect of UAM traffic density, airspace routes and communication procedures on subjective workload and efficiency-related task performance. Findings indicate that medium and high-density operations were associated with high workload. A reduction in verbal communications through a letter of agreement, and optimized routes, were associated with reduced workload and increased performance efficiency. However, even with these adjustments, reported workload remained high, particularly during the high-density scenario. Future research should focus on the human operator roles and responsibilities, and the amount of involvement, in UAM system management. Particular focus should be directed on the impact of reduced human operator involvement and increased automation, on the safety and efficiency of UAM operations and the integration of UAM with traditional air traffic management.
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Air, air, ATM, Considerations, management, Mobility, traffic, UAM, Urban, Workload
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3rd International Symposium on Human Mental Workload: Models and Applications (H-WORKLOAD 2019); November 14, 2019 - November 15, 2019; Rome; Italy.
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Adobe PDF Icon  20190033213_web.pdf (Download Acrobat Reader Click to download Adobe Acrabat Reader)
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Jessica Nowinski
Last Updated: August 15, 2019