Date of Award

5-2021

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics

Department

College of Aviation

Committee Chair

Andrew R. Dattel, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Edward Mummert, M.A.S.

Abstract

As demand for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations increases, it is vital to understand its effects on air traffic controllers and the safety of the national airspace system. This study’s primary purpose is to determine how UAVs that operate in controlled airspace would influence air traffic controllers’ occupational stress and performance. In a within-subject experimental research design, 24 participants sampled from a university’s undergraduate Air Traffic Management (ATM) program completed three different air traffic control (ATC) scenarios on an en route ATC simulation system. The degree of UAV automation and control were varied in each scenario. The participants’ stress levels, performance, and workload were measured with both objective and subjective measurements. Within-subjects ANOVA tests showed significant effects on the participants’ stress level, performance, and workload when automated UAVs were present in the scenario. Participants experienced increased workload, the highest level of stress, and carried out the worst performance when with controllable UAVs in the airspace. These findings can inform UAV integration into controlled airspace and future research into UAV automation and control and ATC management.

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