Mary "Missy" Cummings

Mary "Missy" Cummings

Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

External Address: 
131 North Building, Box 103957, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
131 North Building, Box 103957, Durham, NC 27708


Mary "Missy" Cummings received her B.S. in Mathematics from the US Naval Academy in 1988, her M.S. in Space Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1994, and her Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2004.
A naval officer and military pilot from 1988-1999, she was one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots.
Cummings is currently a Professor in the Duke University Pratt School of Engineering, the Duke Institute of Brain Sciences, and is the director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory and Duke Robotics. Her research interests include human-unmanned vehicle interaction, human-autonomous system collaboration, human-systems engineering, public policy implications of unmanned vehicles, and the ethical and social impact of technology.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Virginia 2004

Selected Grants

Aircraft Labor In-Cockpit Automation System awarded by Aurora Flight Sciences (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2016

Integrated Global and Local Situational Awareness in Distributed Unmanned and Manned Ground Operations awarded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2016


Rathje, J. M., et al. “Human-automation collaboration in occluded trajectory smoothing.” Ieee Transactions on Human Machine Systems, vol. 43, no. 2, Mar. 2013, pp. 137–48. Scopus, doi:10.1109/TSMCA.2012.2230439. Full Text

Cummings, M. L., et al. “Boredom and distraction in multiple unmanned vehicle supervisory control.” Interacting With Computers, vol. 25, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 34–47. Scopus, doi:10.1093/iwc/iws011. Full Text

Clare, A. S., et al. “Operator objective function guidance for a real-time unmanned vehicle scheduling algorithm.” Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information and Communication, vol. 9, no. 4, Dec. 2012, pp. 161–73. Scopus, doi:10.2514/1.I010019. Full Text

Clare, A. S., et al. “Assessing operator strategies for real-time replanning of multiple unmanned vehicles.” Intelligent Decision Technologies, vol. 6, no. 3, Oct. 2012, pp. 221–31. Scopus, doi:10.3233/IDT-2012-0138. Full Text

Pitman, D., and M. L. Cummings. “Collaborative exploration with a micro aerial vehicle: A novel interaction method for controlling a MAV with a hand-held device.” Advances in Human Computer Interaction, vol. 2012, Sept. 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1155/2012/768180. Full Text

Cummings, M., et al. “Development and testing of a quad rotor smartphone control system for novice users.” International Journal of Micro Air Vehicles, vol. 4, no. 3, Sept. 2012, pp. 165–78. Scopus, doi:10.1260/1756-8293.4.3.165. Full Text

Bertuccelli, L. F., and M. L. Cummings. “Operator choice modeling for collaborative UAV visual search tasks.” Ieee Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Part A:Systems and Humans, vol. 42, no. 5, May 2012, pp. 1088–99. Scopus, doi:10.1109/TSMCA.2012.2189875. Full Text

Cummings, M. L., et al. “Human-automated path planning optimization and decision support.” International Journal of Human Computer Studies, vol. 70, no. 2, Feb. 2012, pp. 116–28. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2011.10.001. Full Text

Boussemart, Y., and M. L. Cummings. “Predictive models of human supervisory control behavioral patterns using hidden semi-Markov models.” Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, vol. 24, no. 7, Oct. 2011, pp. 1252–62. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.engappai.2011.04.008. Full Text

Crandall, J. W., et al. “Computing the effects of operator attention allocation in human control of multiple robots.” Ieee Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Part A:Systems and Humans, vol. 41, no. 3, May 2011, pp. 385–97. Scopus, doi:10.1109/TSMCA.2010.2084082. Full Text


Cummings, M. “Civilian applications of unmanned aircraft systems: How do we get there?Auvsi Unmanned Systems 2014, vol. 1, 2014, pp. 489–91.

Gao, F., and M. L. Cummings. “Barriers to robust and effective human-agent teamwork.” Aaai Spring Symposium  Technical Report, vol. SS-14-04, 2014, pp. 36–41.

Gao, F., et al. “Modeling the impact of operator trust on performance in multiple robot control.” Aaai Spring Symposium  Technical Report, vol. SS-13-07, 2013, pp. 16–22.

Berardi, C. W., et al. “Investigating the efficacy of network visualizations for intelligence tasks.” Ieee Isi 2013  2013 Ieee International Conference on Intelligence and Security Informatics: Big Data, Emergent Threats, and Decision Making in Security Informatics, 2013, pp. 278–83. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ISI.2013.6578843. Full Text

Collins, A. N., and M. L. Cummings. “Making the business case for increased VTOL autonomy in degraded visual environments.” Auvsi Unmanned Systems 2013, vol. 1, 2013, pp. 788–802.

Kopeikin, A., et al. “Flight testing a heterogeneous multi-UAV system with human supervision.” Aiaa Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference 2012, 2012.

Clare, A. S., et al. “Identifying suitable algorithms for human-computer collaborative scheduling of multiple Unmanned Vehicles.” 50th Aiaa Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition, 2012. Scopus, doi:10.2514/6.2012-485. Full Text

Roth, E. M., et al. “Collaborative automation across varying time scales of interaction: What's the same? What's different?Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 2012, pp. 213–17. Scopus, doi:10.1177/1071181312561052. Full Text

Mkrtchyan, A. A., et al. “Using variable-rate alerting to counter boredom in human supervisory control.” Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 2012, pp. 1441–45. Scopus, doi:10.1177/1071181312561406. Full Text

Cummings, M. L., et al. “One work analysis, two domains: A display information requirements case study.” Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 2012, pp. 358–62. Scopus, doi:10.1177/1071181312561082. Full Text