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Recent Research Efforts

Current FAA Research

Improving Pilot Training for the Operation of Automated Aircraft

This research effort was developed for the purpose of furthering our understanding of mental models and how that understanding can better the processes needed to train those who operate systems that require human monitoring and intervention. We are specifically investigating what type of knowledge should be contained within a pilot's mental model of automated flight deck systems (i.e., knowledge about the system's components, the system's operation procedures, and knowledge of the relationship between these two).

Threat and Error Management

We are currently examining what types of knowledge affect an operator's ability to react to abnormal or threatening events while operating a complex system. The goal of the current research is to determine whether a greater focus in training on the conceptual understanding of threatening events will lead to an improvement in flight crew performance, especially in threat management.

Graduate Student Researchers:
Michelle Harper-Sciarini
Michael Curtis
David Schuster

Current TSL Research

Our research lab is involved in a multiyear project sponsored by the Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL) under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

After four years of successful research looking at the underlining dynamics behind a complex visual search task such as the X-ray screening of bags, our lab has developed a unique training approach aimed at further improving the detection rate of threatening items such as guns, knives, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) (An article describing our past research can be found here).

Presently, we have two main research foci:

1) Developing a field experiment in which our latest training paradigm will be tested on airport X-ray screeners around the country in order to determine if the findings in our laboratory can extend to such population. This applied research is the first step to validate our current training protocols.

2) Furthering our laboratory exploratory research to precisely look at the impact factors such as differential clutter overlap can have on threat items, the respective repercussions on detection rates, and how to mitigate those effects.

Graduate Student Researchers:
Sandro Scielzo
Scott Ososky

Current ARL Research

Our lab is currently conducting research that is funded by the Army Research Laboratory. This initiative has focused on the operation of unmanned vehicles and has considered the influence of factors including teams, spatial ability, mental models, environment, and skill acquisition on performance.

Performance of Distributed Teams Controlling Mixed Assets

The current study that is being conducted under this project is examining the performance of distributed teammates controlling an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). The UAV operator controls the asset from a mounted office environment, while the UGV operator controls the asset from a dismounted foxhole environment. In addition to basic communication, this study is considering the effects of sharing a teammate's vehicle view and sharing control of a teammate's vehicle on coordination, workload, and performance.

Graduate Student Researchers:
Bill Evans
Thomas Fincannon
Joeseph Keebler
Scott Ososky
Moshe Feldman

Recently Published / Presented

Book Chapter

Evans, III, A. W., Hoeft, R. M., Jentsch, F., Rehfeld, S. A., & Curtis, M. T. (2006). Exploring human-robot interaction: Emerging methodologies and environments. In N. J. Cooke, H. Pringle, H. Pedersen, & O. Connor (Eds.), Human Factors of Remotely Piloted Vehicles (pp. 345-358). Amsterdam, NL: Elsevier.

Scielzo, S., Fiore, S. M., Jentsch, F., & Finkelstein, N. (2006). Cognition and collaboration in hybrid human-robot teams: viewing workload and performance through the lens of multimedia cognitive load. In Cooke, N. J., Pringle, H., Pedersen, H. (Eds.), Human factors of remotely piloted vehicles.

Proceedings Papers

Evans, A., W., III, Hoeft, R., Rehfeld, S., Feldman, M., Curtis, M., Fincannon, T., Ottlinger, J., & Jentsch, F. (2005). Advancing robotics research through the use of a scale MOUT facility. Proceedings of the 49th Annual Human Factors and Ergonomic Society Conference. Orlando, Florida, October 2005.

Hoeft, R. M., Jentsch, F., & Bowers, C. (2005). The effects of interdependence on team performance in human-robot teams. Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction Conference, Las Vegas, NV, August 2005.

Fincannon, T., Curtis, M., & Jentsch, F. (2006). Familiarity and expertise in the recognition of vehicles from and an unmanned ground vehicle. 2006 Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Hoeft, R. M., Jentsch, F., Smith-Jentsch, K. A., & Bowers, C. (2005). Shared mental models and implicit coordination in (human-robot) teams: Convergence, accuracy, or perceptions? Proceedings of the 49th Annual Human Factors and Ergonomic Society Conference. Orlando, Florida, October 2005.

Rehfeld, S. A., Jentsch, F. G., Curtis, M., & Fincannon, T. (2005). Collaborative teamwork with unmanned ground vehicles in military missions. Proceedings of the 11th Annual Human-Computer Interaction International Conference, Las Vegas, NV, August 2005.

Fiore, S. M., Scielzo, S., Jentsch, F., & Howard, M. L. (2006). Effects of discrimination task training on X-Ray screening decisions. To be published in the Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Santa Monica, CA: HFES.

Scielzo, S., Cuevas, H. M., & Fiore, S. M. (2005). Investigating Individual Differences and Instructional Efficiency in Computer-Based Training Environments. Proceedings of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Santa Monica, CA: HFES

Conference Presentations without Proceedings

Feldman, M., & Jentsch, F. (2005). "Back to the Future" in simulations: Using physical scale models to represent the world. Symposium paper to be presented at the Annual Conference for the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), Los Angeles, CA, April 2005.

Feldman, M., & Jentsch, F. (2005, February). A physical scale model to represent the world in Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) research. Paper presented at the Annual Industrial-Organizational/Organizational Behavior (IOOB) Conference, Melbourne, Florida, February 2005.

Proceedings Posters

Jentsch, F., Evans, A. W., III, Feldman, M., Hoeft, R. M., Rehfeld, S., & Curtis, M. (2004). A scale MOUT facility for studying human-robot interaction and control. 24th Annual Army Science Conference. Orlando, FL.

Jentsch, F., Hoeft, R. M., Barber, D., & Shumaker, R. (2006, April). Alternative methods for tactical human-robot communication. Poster presented at the 2006 U.S. Army Research Laboratory Collaborative Technology Alliances Conference, Adelphi, MD

Conference Tutorials

Jentsch, F. G., Evans, A. W., III, Curtis, M., & Fiore, S. (2005). Building low-cost simulation environments to study human-agent interaction. Proceedings of the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference, Orlando, Florida, Nov/Dec 2005.