Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Paul A. Blue, PhD


The research presented in this thesis focuses on developing, demonstrating, and evaluating the concept of a Cursor-on-Target control system for semi-autonomous unmanned aircraft systems. The Department of Defense has mapped out a strategy in which unmanned aircraft systems will increasingly replace piloted aircraft. During most phases of flight autonomous unmanned aircraft control reduces operator workload, however, real-time information exchange often requires an operator to relay decision changes to the unmanned aircraft. The goal of this research is to develop a preliminary Cursor-on-Target control system to enable the operator to guide the unmanned aircraft with minimal workload during high task phases of flight and then evaluate the operator's ability to conduct the mission using that control system. For this research, the problem of Cursor-on-Target control design has multiple components. Initially, a Cursor-on-Target controller is developed in Simulink. Then, this controller is integrated into the Aviator Visual Design Simulator to develop an operator-in-the-loop test platform. Finally, a ground target is simulated and tracked to validate the Cursor-on-Target controller. The Cursor-on-Target control system is then evaluated using a proposed operator rating scale.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number