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Visual field information in low-altitude visual flight by line-of-sight slaved helmet-mounted displays

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2 Author(s)
Grunwald, A.J. ; Fac. of Aerosp. Eng., Technion-Israel Inst. of Technol., Haifa, Israel ; Kohn, S.

The pilot's ability to derive control-oriented visual field information from teleoperated helmet-mounted displays in nap-of-the-earth flight is investigated in this paper. The visual field with these types of displays, commonly used in Apache and Cobra helicopter night operations, originates from a relatively narrow field-of-view forward looking infrared radiation (FLIR) camera, gimbal-mounted at the nose of the aircraft and slaved to the pilot's line of sight, providing a wide-angle field of regard. Pilots have encountered considerable difficulties in controlling the aircraft by these devices. The experimental simulator results presented here indicate that part of these difficulties can be attributed both to the narrow camera field of view and to head/camera slaving system phase lags and errors. In the presence of voluntary head rotation, these shortcomings are shown to impair the control-oriented visual field information vital in vehicular control, such as the perception of the anticipated flight path or the vehicle yaw rate. Since the pilot will tend to minimize head rotation in the presence of slaving system imperfections, the full wide-angle field of regard of the line-of-sight slaved helmet-mounted display is not always fully utilized. The findings in this paper are valid for a general class of head-slaved displays which are used in teleoperation and virtual environments and in which correct self-motion estimation is an essential part of the operator task

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Systems, Man and Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 1 )