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ATLAS Lab Research Areas

Urban/Advanced Air Mobility U/AAM

The ATLAS lab has been conducting research into the human factor implications associated with UAM and AAM since 2020, with a focus on novel pilot interfaces and training for the next generation of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft . 

Past research efforts include:

  • Market study of current vehicles and pilot interfaces.
  • Interview study with proxy AAM pilots (e.g., air ambulance, eVTOL test pilots) to understand information requirements and challenges for emerging AAM pilot interfaces. 
  • Mapping of FAA eVTOL human factors certification requirements to constructs/measures from the literature, and identification of associated AAM use case evaluation scenarios to support academic research remaining relevant to AAM industry needs.
  • Identification of relevant design guidelines for eVTOL pilot interfaces.
  • Identification of training implications for the future AAM workforce

Current research efforts include:

  • User needs analysis, design and evaluation of prototype electric aircraft battery information displays.
  • Evaluating the impact of simplified displays on AAM pilot situation awareness, workload and performance.
  • Evaluating  how various automation schemes and pilot experience influence AAM pilot workload, trust and decision making.
  • Examining virtual reality training and associated training implications in a UAM training context .

Human Machine Teaming

The ATLAS Lab studies the human-machine teaming context from multiple angles including how to design complex systems to facilitate the effective communication between the machine and human, eliciting trust by the human in it’s machine counterpart, and the human-machine team being able to achieve desired and effective performance.  Example projects include:

  • Multilevel Framework of Trust Dynamics in Human-Agent Teams (HATs) - Currently funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research's Trust and Influence program, in collaboration with Florida Tech's Institute for Culture, Collaboration, and Management (ICCM), this effort is developing a Multilevel Framework of Trust Dynamics in Human-Agent Teams (HATs) and associated unobtrusive measures of trust. The first year of the effort focuses on a review of recent literature in the field and conceptualization of the theoretical framework that will be validated in later experimentation, including experiments designed to validate aspects of the model such as the influence of various characteristics of trust violations and repair strategies in teams, and how various compilational patterns of these events across teammates impacts trust.  
  • Examination of Human-Agent Team Dynamics and Trust in a Simulated Multi-UAV Mission: Identifying Areas for Competency-Based Training - Previously funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), this effort conducted an experiment examining the impact of various Levels of Automation, implemented in a Multi-UAV simulator, on a human teammate's trust in an agent teammate, performance, stress and workload.  

  • Multi-Unmanned Aircraft System (UAV) Simulator for Teaming Research and Evaluation of Autonomous Missions (Multi-UAV S.T.R.E.A.M.) – A collaborative effort with the AFRL's Gaming Research Integration for Learning Laboratory (GRILL) that resulted in development of a virtual environment that allows the study of human-machine teaming elements such as team composition, team dynamics, trust in autonomous decision making, trust repair strategies, levels of autonomy, and multi-UAV management.
  • Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Heads-up Displays (HUDs) for Emergency and Commercial Operations– A project aimed to support Part 107 UAS operations, particularly for emergency operations, through heads-up displays (HUDs). The first effort consisted of a simulation-based search and rescue mission to assess operator situation awareness, workload, and performance. The second effort assessed HUDs in live settings utilizing Epson Moverio augmented reality glasses with undergraduate students and local first responders to determine the efficacy of these tools in the field.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity – An Office of Naval Research (ONR)-funded project to examine individual awareness of and response to Internet-of-Things (IoT) cybersecurity threats.  This effort was a collaboration with Florida Tech’s IoT Privacy and Security Lab to evaluate IoT user knowledge, perceptions, experiences and behaviors related to the privacy of personal information on IoT devices.  Interventions for influencing human behaviors were developed and their effectiveness was validated in an experiment with over 100 participantHumans VS machines: Focus must be on people - report 



Cognition and Decision Making

The ATLAS lab studies how individuals make decisions under stress and uncertainty.  This includes utilizing physiological measures to assess stress and workload, in hand with granular process-level measures of decision making and performance.  It has also resulted in development of a model of how pilots make decisions with conflicting information. Example projects include:

  • Pilot Response to Conflicting Information: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-funded research effort that examined, from a theoretical and empirical perspective, how pilots respond to information conflicts on the flight deck between certified systems and information presented on the electronic flight bag (EFB). The project included review of literature and safety/accident reports, survey and interview of over 100 general aviation and air transport pilots, and a simulation study with B737 pilots.



Learning and Expertise Development

The ATLAS Lab examines learner motivation and engagement, including development of a framework of individual, system and task/environmental factors which influence how likely a learner it to become engaged in a learning context.  We have developed best practice guidelines for increasing learner engagement in the modern education environment, including how to effectively utilize virtual training tools.  We also conduct research in the areas of training system design and evaluation, including adaptive training, training effectiveness evaluation, return on training investment, and training fidelity analysis.  Example projects include:

  • Educational Approaches and Curriculum to Engage and Educate a More Diverse Cybersecurity Workforce - Currently funded by ONR, in collaboration with Florida Tech's IoT Privacy and Security Lab, this effort is designing, implementing and empirically evaluating an introductory cybersecurity training course with impactful STEM educational experiences and instructional strategies shown efficacious for cybersecurity education and effective in targeting underrepresented minorities.  The outcome of this effort will be educational approaches and a pilot-program curriculum for an introductory-level cybersecurity course, empirically validated to increase learning outcomes, learner engagement, self-efficacy, interest and intent to pursue a career in cybersecurity, for underrepresented minorities.  We are currently collaborating with Coaco High School's Junior ROTC program for design and evaluation of the program.

  • Adaptive Training.  The ATLAS lab assisted in design and implementation of experimentation to evaluate adaptive training tools and techniques.  One effort was a collaboration with the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWC TSD) to evaluate the effectiveness of various adaptive approaches for flash card training.  Another effort was a collaboration with Boston Fusion Corporation (BFC) to develop and evaluate data analytic approaches for quantifying and qualifying pilot performance and learning in simulation scenarios to facilitate automatic adaptive training interventions.
  • Learner Engagement Assessment Tools - Research and development effort previously funded by AFRL to design and empirically evaluate training and assessment tools and techniques to increase learner engagement for UAS training, maintenance training, and higher education.



Human Performance and Individual Differences

The ATLAS Lab studies human performance under stress and resilience to stress, including the utilization of behavioral and physiological assessment of cognitive/perceptual skills and cognitive/affective state.  We also study the impact that a range of individual difference factors have on cognition, learning and performance, including cognitive ability, personality, motivation, self-efficacy, among others.

  • Theoretical Model Develop of Learner Engagement - Previously funded by AFRL, this research effort resulted in identification and empirical validation of framework of individual difference factors which influence learner engagement.
  • Indicators of Student Pilot Success - Archival study to examine factors which predict success in collegiate aviation program. Future efforts will conduct a longitudinal study to examine the role that personality traits and other individual difference variables play in pilot selection, performance, and success.




Federal Aviation Administration
Naval Air Warfare Center
Boston Fusion Corporation
Bell Murray Aerospace
Airforce Research Laboratory Gaming Research Integration for Learning Lab
Design Interactive
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Southwest Airlines
Florida Tech's Institute for Culture, Collaboration, and Management