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Operator Choice Modeling for Collaborative UAV Visual Search Tasks

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2 Author(s)
Bertuccelli, L.F. ; Dept. of Aeronaut. & Astronaut., Massachusetts Inst. of Technol., Cambridge, MA, USA ; Cummings, M.L.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide unprecedented access to imagery of possible ground targets of interest in real time. The availability of this imagery is expected to increase with envisaged future missions of one operator controlling multiple UAVs. This research investigates decision models that can be used to develop assistive decision support for UAV operators involved in these complex search missions. Previous human-in-the-loop experiments have shown that operator detection probabilities may decay with increased search time. Providing the operators with the ability to requeue difficult images with the option of relooking at targets later was hypothesized to help operators improve their search accuracy. However, it was not well understood how mission performance could be impacted by operators performing requeues with multiple UAVs. This work extends a queuing model of the human operator by developing a retrial queue model (ReQM) that mathematically describes the use of relooks. We use ReQM to generate performance predictions through discrete event simulation. We validate these predictions through a human-in-the-loop experiment that evaluates the impact of requeuing on a simulated multiple-UAV mission. Our results suggest that, while requeuing can improve detection accuracy and decrease mean search times, operators may need additional decision support to use relooks effectively.

Published in:

Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:42 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

Sept. 2012

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