Augmented Reality Tool for the Situational Awareness Improvement of UAV Operators

To avoid the burden of fusing information displayed in the two screens, an Augmented Reality (AR) tool is proposed in this paper. The AR system has two functionalities for Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) UAVs: route orientation and target identification.
2 years ago

Authors: Susana Ruano, Carlos Cuevas, Guillermo Gallego and Narciso García
 
Journal Title: Sensors
 
Publisher: MDPI AG
 
Abstract
 
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are being extensively used nowadays. Therefore, pilots of traditional aerial platforms should adapt their skills to operate them from a Ground Control Station (GCS). Common GCSs provide information in separate screens: one presents the video stream while the other displays information about the mission plan and information coming from other sensors.
 
To avoid the burden of fusing information displayed in the two screens, an Augmented Reality (AR) tool is proposed in this paper. The AR system has two functionalities for Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) UAVs: route orientation and target identification. Route orientation allows the operator to identify the upcoming waypoints and the path that the UAV is going to follow.
 
Target identification allows a fast target localization, even in the presence of occlusions. The AR tool is implemented following the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) standards so that it can be used in different GCSs. The experiments show how the AR tool improves significantly the situational awareness of the UAV operators.
 

Picture: Difference between the raw video stream (a) and the augmented with the proposed AR tool (b) for distinguishing buildings in reconnaissance missions. A blue circle surrounding the targets has been superimposed on both images to mark the true position.

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