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Aeronautics, Graduate Studies

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication/Presentation Date



The limited field of view of static egocentric visual displays employed in unmanned aircraft controls introduces the soda straw effect on operators, which significantly affects their ability to capture and maintain situational awareness by not depicting peripheral visual data. The problem with insufficient operator situational awareness is the resulting increased potential for error and oversight during operation of unmanned aircraft, leading to accidents and mishaps costing United States taxpayers between $4 million to $54 million per year. The purpose of this quantitative experimental completely randomized design study was to examine and compare use of dynamic eyepoint to static visual interaction in a simulated stationary egocentric environment to determine which, if any, resulted in higher situational awareness. The theoretical framework for the study established the premise that the amount of visual information available could affect the situational awareness of an operator and that increasing visual information through dynamic eyepoint manipulation may result in higher situational awareness than static visualization. Four experimental dynamic visual interaction methods were examined (analog joystick, head tracker, uninterrupted hat/point of view switch, and incremental hat/point of view switch) and compared to a single static method (the control treatment). The five methods were used in experimental testing with 150 participants to determine if the use of a dynamic eyepoint significantly increased the situational awareness of a user within a stationary egocentric environment, indicating that employing dynamic control would reduce the occurrence or consequences of the soda straw effect. The primary difference between the four dynamic visual interaction methods was their unique manipulation approaches to control the pitch and yaw of the simulated eyepoint. The identification of dynamic visual interaction increasing user SA may lead to the further refinement of human-machine-interface (HMI), teleoperation, and unmanned aircraft control principles, with the pursuit and performance of related research.


Orlando, FL

Additional Information

Dr. Terwilliger was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.