Tools and Techniques to support operators in MOMU (Multiple Operator Multiple UAV) environments

The ‘RICH’ (Rapid Immersion tools/techniques for Coordination and Hand-offs) research project is a US-Israel collaboration. The project aims to research, design and develop tools, techniques and procedures to aid operators in MOMU environments; to facilitate task switching and/or coordinate with other operators all for the benefit of improving overall mission performance.The Israeli partners on this task are Jacob Silbiger from Synergy Integration, Lt. Col. Michal Rottem-Hovev from the IAF, and Drs. Tal Oron-Gilad and Talya Porat from the Dept. of Industrial Engineering and Management. The US parents are Jay Shively, Lisa Fern (Human Systems Integration Group Leader, Aeroflightdynamics Directorate, US Army Research Development and Engineering Command (AMRDEC)), and Dr. Mark Draper (USAFRL). RICH is part of the US/Israel MOA (mutual operation agreement) on Rotorcraft Aeromechanics & Man/Machine Integration Technology.

Here I describe in brief the goals of the Israeli team and some of the tools developed.

Motivation: Multiple operators controlling multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (MOMU) can be an efficient operational setup for reconnaissance and surveillance missions. However, it dictates switching and coordination among operators. Efficient switching is time-critical and cognitively demanding, thus vitally affecting mission accomplishment. As such, tools and techniques (T&Ts) to facilitate switching and coordination among operators are required. Furthermore, development of metrics and test-scenarios becomes essential to evaluate, refine, and adjust T&Ts to the specifics of the operational environment.

Tools: Tools can be divided into two categories: 1) tools that facilitate ‘quick setup’, i.e., aimed to ease the way of the operator into a new mission or area of operation; and 2) tools that facilitate on-going missions where acquiring new UAVs, delegating, or switching is necessary to complete the tasks at hand. The Israeli team focused primarily on tools of the second type. Some “successful” tools have been the Castling rays (see CHI paper for detail), the TIE/coupling tool, and the Maintain coverage area.

Several outcomes of this effort have been presented and appear in the following conference proceedings.

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