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Proceedings Paper

Removing the bottleneck: utilizing autonomy to manage multiple UAS sensors from inside a cockpit
Author(s): Thomas J. Alicia; Grant S. Taylor; Terry S. Turpin; Amit Surana
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Paper Abstract

The U.S. Army Aviation Development Directorate, in collaboration with United Technologies Research Center and University of California: Santa Barbara, has developed a system for controlling multiple unmanned aerial systems (UAS) from a manned helicopter cockpit. Similar manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) capabilities have been successfully fielded in the AH-64E attack helicopter, with the Copilot/Gunner (CPG) managing one UAS; however, managing multiple UAS in the same manner would result in a cognitive processing bottleneck within the CPG. Removing this bottleneck requires implementation of autonomous behaviors and human-centered design principles to avoid detracting from the CPG’s primary mission. This research evaluates these concepts with respect to multi-UAS MUM-T performance. Sixteen U.S. Army aviators with MUM-T experience participated in the experiment. The first phase assessed the performance of a CPG managing multiple UAS simultaneously in a fixed-base MUM-T simulator featuring touchscreen displays, simulated aided target recognition, and task-level delegation of control (DelCon). The second phase iteratively improved the DelCon capability and added an Attention Allocation Aid (AAA) in the form of real-time gaze tracking feedback. The research demonstrated that a single crewmember can manage at least three UAS assets while executing complex multi- UAS MUM-T tactical missions. The DelCon capability allowed participants to more efficiently perform a subset of mission tasks. Furthermore, subjective ratings from the participants indicated a willingness to accept the AAA and DelCon systems. Overall, this research demonstrates the potential of utilizing automation and human-centered design principles to overcome cognitive bottlenecks and achieve greater system efficiency.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 May 2018
PDF: 19 pages
Proc. SPIE 10640, Unmanned Systems Technology XX, 106400L (3 May 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2303915
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas J. Alicia, U.S. Army Aviation Development Directorate (United States)
Grant S. Taylor, U.S. Army Aviation Development Directorate (United States)
Terry S. Turpin, Turpin Technologies (United States)
Amit Surana, United Technologies Research Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10640:
Unmanned Systems Technology XX
Robert E. Karlsen; Douglas W. Gage; Charles M. Shoemaker; Hoa G. Nguyen, Editor(s)

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