Target search is a common objective in military operations involving UAVs. The development of visual search training techniques could improve target search efficiency and reduce mission cost. In this study, target, cue and visual scanning training techniques were evaluated using the FlightGear UAV flight simulator. Participants were assigned at random to one of four training conditions including a control training condition. In a target training condition, participants learned how to discriminate a target military fuel truck from other types of trucks. In the cue condition, participants learned how to discriminate a cue (i.e., military hangar) from other types of non-cue hangars. In the visual scanning condition, participants were asked to search for the cue located in different parts of the screen. In the control condition, participants learned how to discriminate a military antenna from other types of antennae. The participants also received UAV navigation and, where applicable, secondary task trainings. The skills achieved in the training were tested during a 30-minute UAV flight. The participants were asked to fly the plane along the route, detect and take pictures of the targets. One half of participants, in addition to the primary task, were asked to perform a secondary task, which simulated a military radio frequency switching task. It was predicted that target, cue, and visual scanning conditions would result in superior target detection performance in terms of multiple performance metrics, when compared to the control condition. The secondary task was expected to impact performance negatively in all conditions. Also, participants in the target, cue and visual scan training conditions were expected to experience lower subjective workload and stress measured by NASA-TLX and DSSQ questionnaires respectively. The results showed that overall target and cue training conditions produced superior target search performances when compared to the control condition. The visual scan training was moderately effective. Only target training condition performance was vulnerable to the secondary task load. The secondary task resulted in increased subjective engagement, however, but also elevated mental and physical workloads showing the complex interactions between task conditions and operators' subjective experiences. In summary, it appears that training knowledge about what the target looks like, knowledge about a cue, and active scanning of the searched visual field are all promising for promoting effective target search in realistic UAV flight environments. Future directions of the research might involve further improvements of the training techniques in terms of observers' bias and sensitivity, eye movement measurement, and realism of training.
|Commitee:||Chiu, Chung-Yiu, Riley, Michael, Warm, Joel|
|School:||University of Cincinnati|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-B 73/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Training, Unmanned aerial vehicles, Visual search|
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