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The Effects of Highlighting, Validity, and Feature Type on Air-to-Ground Target Acquisition Performance.

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Master's thesis,

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Air-to-ground target acquisition is an important part of any flight task, whether during navigation, landing at an airport, or during military bombing missions. This task usually involves visual searches to cross-check between a map and the forward field of view FFOV. Previous research has implied that cultural man-made targets and lead-in features may yield better performance than natural targets and lead-in features. Also, since the target acquisition task often involves visual searches in complex visual fields for both the map and the FFOV, previous research suggests that highlighting a target on the map can automate the search process by increasing the targets salience. However, as with any automation, the possibility of failure exists and is often associated with drastic consequences. This study examined the differences in performance between natural and cultural feature types as targets and lead-in features under highlighted and nonhighlighted conditions. Also, performance under highlighted and nonhighlighted conditions were compared to determine if highlighting did facilitate the target acquisition task. When targets were highiighted, the highlighting was either valid, invalid with the wrong target highlighted, or invalid with the wrong target highlighted and the correct target absent from the FFOV. The target highlighting occurred under 60 validity conditions therefore, in some cases, a nearby lead-in feature was highlighted always validly to minimize or eliminate any costs of highlighting invalidity. Analysis showed that performance according to feature type was best under a target by lead-in interaction where the target feature type was opposite that of the lead-in feature type. Valid highlighting did not provide any significant benefit over nonhighlighted conditions yet invalid target highlighting produced performance costs that were not sufficiently improved by any feature-type interaction or the lead-in highlighted condition.

Subject Categories:

  • Target Direction, Range and Position Finding

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