Congressional Update: HFES Cosponsors Briefing on Autonomous Systems and the Role of the Human

By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC  |  June 13, 2016

On May 31, HFES, along with the American Psychological Association, Duke University, Texas A&M University, and Arizona State University, cosponsored "Autonomous Systems and the Role of the Human," a congressional briefing on team science and human factors. The briefing included remarks by HFES members Nancy Cooke, HFES president-elect and professor and program chair of Human Systems Engineering at Arizona State University; Missy Cummings, associate professor and director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory at Duke University; and Robin Murphy, Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M. Barbara Wanchisen, director of the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, provided an introduction to team science and to the National Academies report on the subject.

The speakers addressed issues on the public perception of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), regulation and accountability, human-machine interface with autonomous systems, and the diverse functionality of UAVs. Murphy, an engineering professor with extensive experience in emergency response, noted that these vehicles can be invaluable in surveying the effects of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and coastal flooding. However, Murphy also noted that much still must be done to improve the effectiveness of these technologies. The briefing was well attended by both House and Senate staff and was a great opportunity to bring attention to the work being done by HFES members.

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, a leading Washington, D.C.-based government relations and consulting firm, represents the public policy interests of scientific societies and institutions of higher education. Lewis-Burke's staff of about 20 government relations professionals work to promote the federal research and policy goals of HFES and the HF/E community.