ETD system

Electronic theses and dissertations repository


Tesi etd-04082011-003312

Thesis type
Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
Novel Haptic Cueing for UAV Tele-Operation.
Settore scientifico disciplinare
Corso di studi
tutor Prof. Pollini, Lorenzo
Parole chiave
  • Remote control
  • Multisensory interface.
  • Haptics
  • Human-Machine Interface
  • Bilateral Teleoperation
Data inizio appello
Riassunto analitico
The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is continuously increasing both for military and civilian operations. The degree of automation inside an UAV has reached the capability of high levels of autonomy, increasing but human participation/action is still a requirement to ensure an ultimate level of safety for the mission. Direct remote piloting is often required for a board range of situations; this is true especially for larger UAVs, where a fault might be dangerous for the platform but even for the other entities of its environment (people, building etc.). Unfortunately the physical separation between pilot/operator and the UAV reduces greatly the situational awareness; this has a negative impact on system performance in the presence of remote and unforeseen environmental constraints and disturbances. This is why this thesis is dedicated to the study of means to increase the level of situational awareness of the UAV operator.
The sense of telepresence is very important in teleoperation, and it appears reasonable, and it has already been shown in the literature, that extending the visual feedback with force feedback is able to complement the visual information (when missing or limited). An artificially recreated sense of touch (haptic) may allow the operator to better perceive information from the remote aircraft state, the environment and its constraints, hopefully preventing dangerous situations. This thesis introdues first a novel classification for haptic aid systems in two large classes: Direct Haptic Aid (DHA) and Indirect Haptic Aid (IHA), then, after showing that almost all existing aid concepts belong to the first class, focuses on IHA and tries to show that classical applications (that used a DHA approach) can be revised in a IHA fashion. The novel IHA systems produce different sensations, which in most cases may appear as exactly "opposite in sign" from the corresponding DHA; these sensations can provide valuable cues for the pilot, both in terms of improvement of performance and "level of
appreciation". Furthermore, it will be shown that the novel cueing algorithms, which were designed just to appear "natural" to the operator, and not to directly help the pilot in his task (as in the DHA cases), can outperform the corresponding DHA systems.
Three case studies were selected: obstacle avoidance, wind gust rejection, and a combination of the two. For all the cases, DHA and IHA systems were designed and compared against baseline performance with no haptic aid. Test results show that a net improvement in terms of performance is provided by employing the IHA cuse instead of both the DHA cues or the visual cues only.
Both professional pilots and naïve subjects were used in some of the experiments. The perceived feelings transmitted by the haptic cues, strongly depend by the type of the experiment and the quality of the participants: the professional pilots, for instance, retained the DHA the most helpful force while they preferred IHA because they found it more natural and because they felt a better control authority on the aircraft; different results were obtained with naive participants.
In the end, this thesis aim is to show that the IHA philosophy is a valid and promising alternative to the other commonly used, and published in the scientific literature, approaches which fall in the DHA category.
Finally the haptic cueing for the obstacle avoidance task was tested in the presence of time delay in the communication link, as in a classical bilateral teleoperation scheme. The Master was provide with an admittance controller and an observer for force exerted by the human on the stick was developed. Experiments have shown that the proposed system is capable of standing substantial communication delays.