Assessing the Impact of Haptic Peripheral Displays for UAV Operators
Author(s)Cummings, M. L.; Donmez, B.; Graham, H. D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Humans and Automation Laboratory
MetadataShow full item record
Objectives: A pilot study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of continuous haptic peripheral displays in supporting multiple UAV supervisory control. Background: Previous research shows that continuous auditory peripheral displays can enhance operator performance in monitoring events that are continuous in nature, such as monitoring how well UAVs stay on their pre-planned courses. This research also shows that auditory alerts can be masked by other auditory information. Command and control operations are generally performed in noisy environments with multiple auditory alerts presented to the operators. In order to avoid this masking problem, another potentially useful sensory channel for providing redundant information to UAV operators is the haptic channel. Method: A pilot experiment was conducted with 13 participants, using a simulated multiple UAV supervisory control task. All participants completed two haptic feedback conditions (continuous and threshold), where they received alerts based on UAV course deviations and late arrivals to targets. Results: Threshold haptic feedback was found to be more effective for late target arrivals, whereas continuous haptic feedback resulted in faster reactions to course deviations. Conclusions: Continuous haptic feedback appears to be more appropriate for monitoring events that are continuous in nature (i.e., how well a UAV keeps its course). In contrast, threshold haptic feedback appears to better support response to discrete events (i.e., late target arrivals). Future research: Because this is a pilot study, more research is needed to validate these preliminary findings. A direct comparison between auditory and haptic feedback is also needed to provide better insights into the potential benefits of multi-modal peripheral displays in command and control of multiple UAVs.
MIT Humans and Automation Laboratory