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Proceedings Paper

Integrating critical interface elements for intuitive single-display aviation control of UAVs
Author(s): Joseph L. Cooper; Michael A. Goodrich
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Paper Abstract

Although advancing levels of technology allow UAV operators to give increasingly complex commands with expanding temporal scope, it is unlikely that the need for immediate situation awareness and local, short-term flight adjustment will ever be completely superseded. Local awareness and control are particularly important when the operator uses the UAV to perform a search or inspection task. There are many different tasks which would be facilitated by search and inspection capabilities of a camera-equipped UAV. These tasks range from bridge inspection and news reporting to wilderness search and rescue. The system should be simple, inexpensive, and intuitive for non-pilots. An appropriately designed interface should (a) provide a context for interpreting video and (b) support UAV tasking and control, all within a single display screen. In this paper, we present and analyze an interface that attempts to accomplish this goal. The interface utilizes a georeferenced terrain map rendered from publicly available altitude data and terrain imagery to create a context in which the location of the UAV and the source of the video are communicated to the operator. Rotated and transformed imagery from the UAV provides a stable frame of reference for the operator and integrates cleanly into the terrain model. Simple icons overlaid onto the main display provide intuitive control and feedback when necessary but fade to a semi-transparent state when not in use to avoid distracting the operator's attention from the video signal. With various interface elements integrated into a single display, the interface runs nicely on a small, portable, inexpensive system with a single display screen and simple input device, but is powerful enough to allow a single operator to deploy, control, and recover a small UAV when coupled with appropriate autonomy. As we present elements of the interface design, we will identify concepts that can be leveraged into a large class of UAV applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 May 2006
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 6226, Enhanced and Synthetic Vision 2006, 62260B (19 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.666341
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph L. Cooper, Brigham Young Univ. (United States)
Michael A. Goodrich, Brigham Young Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6226:
Enhanced and Synthetic Vision 2006
Jacques G. Verly; Jeff J. Guell, Editor(s)

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