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Tele-operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) may involve time delay due to signal transmission. This will result in poor operator performance and control difficulties. Particularly, in a tele-operation system with haptic feedback, time delay may lead to instability, which leads to unsafe tele-operation. Wave variables are often suggested as a method for increasing operator performance in a bilateral system with time delay. However, very little has been reported about effects on human-machine interactions, such as control activity and workload, when using wave variables. This paper describes a theoretical analysis of using wave variables with a collision avoidance system for UAV tele-operation with time delay. An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of wave variables in a collision avoidance system for tele-operation with time delay in a UAV control station equipped with haptic feedback. Operator performance, safety, control activity, and workload were studied. Results indicate that wave variables can increase the performance of a collision avoidance system with presence of time delay. The amount of collisions, control activity, and workload decreased. Operator performance remained the same as with no time delay.
Date of Conference: 7-10 Oct. 2007