An Empirical Study on Operator Interface Design for Handheld Devices to Control Micro Aerial Vehicles


  1. Hou, M.
  2. Young, S.
  3. Yin, S.
  4. Selvadurai, J.R.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
The use of Extremely Agile Micro Aerial Vehicles (EA-MAVs) drives the need for a small and light controller which will not hinder a soldier carrying it. This requirement brings an issue of designing an effective operator interface coupled with the controller. Little human factors work has been done on what the most effective method is for controlling EA-MAVs using a handheld device. To investigate design methods for the development of an interface which must be intuitive in function and easy to learn for an average soldier, DRDC Toronto conducted an experiment to evaluate interface display mode and command control input method. Display mode compared a display that showed both a sensor view and a map view (simultaneous) with a display that showed one view at a time (sequential). Command control input method compared two types of input control methods: touch screen and tactile buttons. Forty four (44) subjects participated in the experiment and navigated a virtual EA-MAV through specified way-points in an urban area and a building. Subjects’ performance was measured against six dependent variables: (1) situation awareness, (2) display switch frequency (between sensor view and map view), (3) task completion time, (4) mental workload, (5) trajectory error of the flight, and (6) training time. The results revealed that the simultaneous display and the touch screen control are the optimal design methods for the handheld interface to be used easily when maintaining situation aware

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

micro aerial vehicle;unmanned vehicle;remotely operated vehicle;operator interface;interface design;handheld device;mobile computer;display format;simultaneous display;sequential display;command input method;tactile button, touch screen;measure of effectiveness;measure of performance;situation awareness;workload
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-TR-2010-075 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Oct 2010
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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