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Velichkovskiy B.B. (2020). Engineering-psychological problems of unmanned aerial vehicles interface design. National Psychological Journal, [Natsional’nyy psikhologicheskiy zhurnal], (13)1, 31–39


Background. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are nowadays widely used in various domains. Their use is connected with a broad range of psychological problems, in particular, within engineering psychology.

Objective. In this paper, typical engineering-psychological problems of interface design for UAVs are considered.

Design. Literature survey on topic related to UAV control. Results. Problems of managing sensory isolation, negative effects of automation failures, connection losses and monotony, as well as problems of supporting the work of UAVs operator teams were identified and solutions proposed. We also study methodological and methodical questions within the domain of interface design for controlling UAVs.

Conclusions. Designing interfaces for UAVs is a complex psychological task. There are perspectives of use for virtual reality, AI, predictive displays, and adaptive automation. There is need for general recommendations concerning UAVs interface development.

Received: 02/06/2020
Accepted: 02/15/2020
Pages: 31-39
DOI: 10.11621/npj.2020.0103

Sections: Psychology computerization;

PDF: /pdf/npj-no37-2020/npj_no37_2020_031-039.pdf

Keywords: unmanned aerial vehicles; engineering-psychological design; virtual reality; artificial intelligence; projective displays; adaptive automation;

Available Online 31.03.2020

Table 1. The main psychological problems of UAV control

Sensory isolation

Lack of auditory and proprioceptive flight information, limited visual information, image transmission delays, poor image quality

Automation levels

Significant differences in the level of automation, various automation of different flight segments, automation errors

Poor communication

Poor radio communication

Unusual flight modes

Long monotonous flight

Selection of operator teams

Problems of functions separation between operators, control of several UAVs by one operator

Operator selection and training

Operator training requirements, skills transfer

Stress and emotional problems

Automation errors, UAV loss, erroneous decisions

Table 2. UAV Interface Design Guidelines Requirements (Hobbs & Lyall, 2016).

General requirements

General requirements for HMI - consistency of notation, feedback, error recovery, etc.

Task descriptions

What the operator should do without describing that way

Display Requirements

What information should be presented without a description of the presentation method

Control Requirements

What impacts should an operator have on UAVs without a description of the impact method

Interface Properties

Physical and functional interface requirements


The work was carried out as part of a research project under the RFBR grant «Development of the fundamental principles of building intelligent integrated safety systems for unmanned aerial vehicles in the airspace of the smart city». Contract N19-29- 06091 mk


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For citing this article:

Velichkovskiy B.B. (2020). Engineering-psychological problems of unmanned aerial vehicles interface design. National Psychological Journal, [Natsional’nyy psikhologicheskiy zhurnal], (13)1, 31–39

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