Archive for category Military & Law Enforcement Applications
- Oron-Gilad T., Hancock, P.A., & Helmick-Rich J.(accepted October 2013), Coding warnings without interfering with dismounted soldiers’ missions, Applied Ergonomics.
Objectives: Warnings are an effective way to communicate hazard, yet they can also increase task demand when presented to operators involved in real-world tasks. Furthermore, in military-related tasks warnings are often given in codes to avoid counter-intelligence, which may foster additional working memory load. Background: Adherence to warnings in the military domain is crucial to promote safety and reduce accidents and injuries. The empirical question arises as to how aspects of coding the warning may interfere with the primary task the individual is currently performing and vice versa. Method: Six experimental conditions were designed to assess how warning-code storage format, response format, and increasing working memory demand (retention) affected both performance on the primary task and the rate of compliance to warnings, considered here as the secondary task. Results: Results revealed that the combination of warning-code storage and response format affected compliance rate and the highest compliance occurred when warnings were presented as pictorials and responses were coded verbally. Contrary to the proposed hypotheses, warning storage format did not affect performance on the primary task, which was only affected by the level of working memory demand. Thus, the intra-modal warning storages did not interfere with the visual/spatial nature of the primary operational task. However, increase in working memory demand, by increasing the number of memorized warning codes, had an effect on both compliance rate and primary task performance. Conclusions: Rather than warning code storage alone, it is the coupling of warning storage and response format that has the most significant effect on compliance.
The WCCOM (Warning-Color COding Modality) compliance task
This task was developed in collaboration with our colleague Prof. Paul Ward now at Greenwich University in the UK.
The task has storage and retention components. Each warning item is paired with one of ten possible colours. The storage component requires memorizing the colour associated with each warning symbol (e.g., boots – black). The retention component involves recalling the stored symbol from the colour presented (e.g., black means boots). Both components of the task, the warning item and the color, were displayed in the same modality. There were three options of storage; pictorial, written or verbal as shown in the Figure. This task aims to examine the sensitivity of working memory to presentation modality when engaging in a demanding operational task.
UVID International conference held on 10/10/2013.
Our paper “Is More Information Better? How Dismounted Soldiers Use Video Feed From Unmanned Vehicles: Attention Allocation and Information Extraction Considerations” won the best paper award for research articles in the area of unmanned systems and human factors. The award ceramony will take place at the conference.
Conference program can be seen at the following link:
Is more information better? How dismounted soldiers utilize video feed from unmanned vehicles – attention allocation and information extraction considerations
Ronny Ophir-Arbelle, Tal Oron-Gilad, Avinoam Borowsky and Yisrael Parmet
Background: Operational tactics in urban areas are often aided by information from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). A major challenge for dismounted soldiers, particularity in urban environments is to understand the conflict area in general and particularly from the UAV feed. The UAV feed is usually used to enhance soldiers’ situation awareness abilities but less for identifying specific elements. Objective: A possible way to further enhance soldiers’ abilities is to provide them with multiple sources of information (e.g., aerial and ground views). This study examined the benefits of presenting video feed from unmanned aerial and ground vehicles (UAV/UGV) in a combined interface, relative to presenting aerial feed alone. Method: Thirty former infantry soldiers with no experience in operating unmanned vehicles participated. Objective performance, subjective evaluations and eye tracking patterns were examined, in two separate scenarios. Results: In Scenario one performance scores in both Identification and Orientation tasks were superior in the combined configuration. In Scenario two performance scores in the Identification tasks were improved and the addition of the UGV feed did not harm performance in the Orientation task. Eye movement scanning patterns reinforced that both UAV and UGV feeds were used for the mission. Conclusion: The combined configuration generated consistent benefits with regard to the Identification tasks, perceived mental demand, and reduction of false reports without having any apparent cost on participants. Application: Ground views may provide additional support to dismounted soldiers.
Here is a sample video feed of the eye scanning pattern of a single participant derived from Scenario 2. Note how the participant utilizes the C2 map (to the right) and both video sources.
Passive Operators\Information Consumers differ from operators and need special attention and interfaces to support their operational missions.
Here are some of the differences to consider:
- Operational environment does not necessarily resemble the one of the unmanned system’s operator
- Experience and expertise is different
- Dismounted soldiers are limited in the weight and size of devices they can carry
- Missions are diverse and often stressful
- Information is provided from multiple sources (unmanned systems, commanders, others)
- Multiple video feeds from various sources – the passive operator may not be aware or familiar with each system and its characteristics – operators are supposed to know their systems’ limitations well
- Communication chains with active operators are indirect or blocked
We have been continuously working on developing interfaces for “passive” operators. See also Scalable interfaces for dismounted soldiers–displaying multiple video feed sources simultaneously
Here are two images from the current study: one of the interface and one of the scanning patterns of a sample participant. From the scanning pattern it is notable that the stronger routes are between the UAV and the map and the UAV and the UGV feed.
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.
- Tal Oron-Gilad, Talya Porat, Lisa Fern, Mark Draper, Jacon Silbiger, Michal Rottem Hovev and Jay Shively. Tools and Techniques for MOMU (Multiple Operator Multiple UAV) Environments;” , Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s 55th Annual Meeting.
- Tal Oron-Gilad, Talya Porat, Jacob Silbiger, and Michal Rottem-Hovev. Decision Support Tools and Layouts for MOMU (multiple operator multiple UAV) Environments. ISAP Dayton OH, May 2-May 5, 2011.
- Talya Porat, Tal Oron-Gilad, Jacob Silbiger, and Michal Rottem-Hovev. Switch and Deliver: Decision Support Tools for MOMV (Multiple Operator Multiple Video feed) Environments, COGSIMA, Miami, FL. Feb. 22-24, 2011.
- Porat T., Oron-Gilad T., Silbiger J, and Hovev M. ‘Castling Rays’ a Decision Support Tool for UAV-Switching Tasks. CHI EA ’10 Proceedings of the 28th of the international conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems.
- One way to enhance soldiers’ orientation and SA is by adding various sources of information (including feeds from unmanned systems) to generate a broader perspective of the environment.
This is a demonstration of a key-hole effect, where it may be difficult to determine where in the map (left) the feed shown from the UAV is located.
- Researchers and practitioners have recently begun to examine the use of several types of unmanned systems combined.
- In order to do this well, it is important to minimize the visual load imposed on the soldier, a load that is obviously increasing due to multiple parallel displays.
- Additional views can increase operator comprehension of the situation but may also cause overload and confusion. Often, too many choices, characteristics and applications may even harm the operator as much as lack of choices.
Our effort aims to examine the needs of dismounted soldiers in a multiple video feed environment (i.e., more than one source of information can be provided at a time) and to identify displays devices and interfaces that can support dismounted soldiers in such more complex intelligence gathering missions.
Combining UAV and UGV feed.
- UAVs are meant to deliver the “larger” picture and are necessary for orientation tasks.
- UGVs are meant to deliver a more focused and specific image.
- Combination of the two should be advantageous when information is complex or ambiguous e.g., one may want to detect a target and then identify its features in more detail.
This is an example of a combined display, where both UAV and UGV video feeds are shown in addition to the aerial map. Waypoints of interest are marked on the map.
Coming soon – experimental results of attentional allocation and performance on intelligence gathering tasks in such displays.