Posts Tagged unmanned vehicle

Close Target Reconnaissance: A Field Evaluation of Dismounted Soldiers Utilizing Video Feed From an Unmanned Ground Vehicle in Patrol Missions

Oron-Gilad and Parmet (2016) in the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making.

  • How is the decision cycle of dismounted soldiers affected by the use of a display device displaying video feed from an unmanned ground vehicle in a patrol mission?
  • Via a handheld monocular display, participants received a route map and sensor imagery from the vehicle that was ~20–50 m ahead.
  • Twenty-two male participants were divided into two groups, with or without the sensor imagery. Each participant navigated for 2 km in a MOUT training facility, while encountering civilians, moving and stationary suspects, and improvised explosive devices.
  • Boyd’s OODA loop (observe–orient–decide–act) framework was used to examine
  • The experimental group was slower to respond to threats and to orient. They also reported higher workload, more difficulties in allocating their attention to their environment, and more frustration.
  • The breakdown of performance metrics into the OODA loop components revealed the major difficulties in the decision-making process and highlighted the need for new roles in combat-team setups and for additional training when unmanned vehicle sensor imagery is introduced.

Practitioner Points
•• The use of a handheld monocular device for intelligence gathering of information from a UGV affected participants’ ability to detect events with their own eyes.
•• Soldiers were aware of the toll that display devices had on their operational mission, yet it continuously attracted their attention.
•• Soldiers must gain understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the unmanned vehicle and its sensor video; they should be able to control the pace of its progress.
•• Team setups, where only limited designated roles attend to the sensor video and more than one individual attends to the immediate environment, may be a better setup for utilization of the technology.

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A retrospective look at the operator/UAS ratio and its implications

Come see us at the AUVSI conference November 2015 in Tel-Aviv.

abstract for AUVSI


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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.

The full article appears in the Journal of Cognitive Ergonomics and Decision Making.

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.

Utilizing video feed from unmanned vehicles

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.


Display layout for the "is more information better" (2012) study

Display layout for the “is more information better” (2012) study

Sample eye scanning patterns for the "Is more information" study

Sample eye scanning patterns for the “Is more information” (2012) study



Robotic Displays For Dismounted Warfighters: A Field Study

Here is the abstract of one of my latest studies. It appears in a special issue of JCEDM “Improving Human-Robot Interaction in Complex Operational Environments: Translating Theory into Practice”

* Oron-Gilad, T., Redden, E.S. and Minkov, Y. (2011). Robotic Displays for Dismounted Warfighter Situation Awareness of Remote Locations: A field study, Journal of Cognitive Ergonomics and Decision Making. Accepted November 2010.Volume 5, Number 1, March 2011, pp. 29–54.
This study investigated scalability of unmanned vehicle displays for dismounted warfighters. Task performance, workload and preferences for three display devices were examined in two operational settings: tele-operation of an unmanned ground vehicle and intelligence gathering from a remote unmanned vehicle. Previous research has demonstrated variability in operational needs with regard to active tele-operation versus passive intelligence gathering. Thus, it was important to identify whether there was actually a dichotomy between the two in terms of screen space requirements and whether this difference stems from task differences or other factors.  Thirty-one soldiers participated in a field study at Ft. Benning, GA. They were required to perform tele-operation and intelligence gathering tasks. Results reconfirmed our hypothesis that display type influences performance in intelligence-related tasks that require the use of video feed and digital map. No significant differences among display types were found in the UGV tele-operation task. In conclusion, dismounted warfighters can adequately perform both active and passive duties with a hand held device where the video window is as small as 4.3 inches in diameter. However, monocular HMDs for robotic displays can be problematic and should be carefully assessed before use in dismounted warfighters missions.

Display devices used in the study

Display devices used in the study

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