Psychological Challenges for Operators when Working with Unmanned Vehicles: A literature review and an observational study analyzed by thematical analysis to understand these psychological challenges, and for making implications on how to cope with them
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- Institutt for psykologi 
Caused by the harsh environment surrounding the Norwegian coastline and arctic regions it is expected a demand for unmanned vehicle systems to perform various operations. Such vehicles are remotely operated and either controlled by humans or automated systems through various levels of automation. The scope of this thesis was to identify psychological challenges for operators of unmanned vehicles, and based on the results make some implications for how to cope with them. To examine such challenges for operators, a literature review and an observational study were conducted and both studies were analyzed with a thematic analysis. Results showed that operators of unmanned vehicles might experience psychological challenges caused by reactions in terms of the psychological constructs of trust, complacency, situation awareness, vigilance and mental workload. These reactions affect how operators supervise and monitor unmanned vehicles, and could lead to errors when they intervene and take control over the system during operations. Such reactions are influenced by various factors by the system and tasks that the operator has to perform. Furthermore these reactions seem highly important to identify when there is a greater cost of making errors, and the possible challenges for operators should therefore be accounted for when designing systems. This could reduce reactions of operators that could turn into errors of human performance. This thesis contributes with a model that presents the relationship between psychological reactions of operators and how these are influenced by various characteristics of systems and tasks. A step-by-step guideline with suggestions made out of implications from the two studies in this thesis is also presented for use when systems are developed and designed. This guideline provides a possible method for how to analyze psychological challenges operators of unmanned vehicles may face.