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Name: Spatial Auditory Human-Machine Interface for UxV Teleoperation
Acronym: SPATEL
Funding scheme: Office of Naval Research Global - NICOP Research Grant

Total budget: $ 129.431,88
Total budget for UNIZG-FER: $ 129.431,88

Start: 15/04/2015
Duration: 17 months
Coordinator: UNIZG-FER (Croatia)
UNIZG-FER status: coordinator

For teleoperated unmanned vehicles, mishaps tend to occur during the periods of high workload, in situations where the operator must perform complex and stressful tasks. Dispersion of relevant information, overloading of the visual channel and operator multitasking are significant problems often resulting in failed missions. In order to address these unique human-factors problems associated with unmanned vehicles, we suggest the use of auditory display as a mean to reduce visual workload, to enhance situation awareness, and mitigate the visual and cognitive demands of contemporary marine teleoperations.

Latest research and technological advances by the Laboratory for Underwater Systems and Technologies (LABUST) at the University of Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (UNIZG-FER) have demonstrated that the use of an auditory display that presents spatial auditory cues can be successfully used for guidance of the unmanned vehicles. However, the systems that are based on auditory interface in comparison to visual, have two significant downsides: the spatial acuity of the visual channel is much better than that of the auditory channel and humans use vision on a permanent basis for navigation, we are very well trained for visual but not for audio navigation.

Therefore, we propose the development of the guidance laws appropriate for guidance-by--sound as well as processing method that can enhance the effective hearing resolution artificially. Since the practice has a major effect on performance and training can significantly improve performance in using interfaces we are not trained for, development of the open-source based simulator for training and system testing is also proposed. The existing LABUST fleet of unmanned vehicles will be used to prove the exploitability of the basic research results related to the Spatial Auditory Interface and the quality of performance in real life conditions.