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The impact of conflicting spatial representations in airborne unmanned aerial system sensor control

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Technical Report,01 Sep 2014,01 Dec 2015

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NAVAIR Patuxent River United States

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The purpose of this study is to extend the basic research findings on spatial representations to a unique application area and extend the small number of applied research studies in this general area to a more robust, Navy-specific application set i.e., Unmanned Aerial Systems. In this study, participants assumed the role of a sensor operator for an unmanned aerial system UAS simulation while riding in the fuselage of an airborne Lockheed P-3 Orion. The P-3 flew a flight profile of intermittent ascending, descending, and turning profiles in strict accordance with an emphasis on safety of flight to induce a maximum level of spatial discordance to the sensor operator screen where the participant tracked simulated targets. Participants also performed trials on the ground with the laptop-based UAS sensor operator simulation to establish baseline performance. In a counterbalanced design, the participants performed trials while airborne and on the ground. The multiple frames of reference for the participant induced spatial discordance and an overall decrease in tracking performance compared to trials during straight and level flight and ground baseline trials.

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