Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

S. Narayanan (Advisor)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The fusion of imagery from multiple sensors is a field of research that has been gaining prominence in the scientific community in recent years. The technical aspects of combining multisensory information have been and are currently being studied extensively. However, the cognitive aspects of multisensor data fusion have not received so much attention. Prior research in the field of cognitive engineering has shown that the cognitive aspects of any human-machine system should be taken into consideration in order to achieve systems that are both safe and useful. The goal of this research was to model how humans interpret multisensory data, and to evaluate the value of a cognitively-engineered multisensory data fusion system as an effective, time-saving means of presenting information in high- stress situations. Specifically, this research used principles from cognitive engineering to design, implement, and evaluate a multisensor data fusion system for pilots in high-stress situations. Two preliminary studies were performed, and concurrent protocol analysis was conducted to determine how humans interpret and mentally fuse information from multiple sensors in both low- and high-stress environments. This information was used to develop a model for human processing of information from multiple data sources. This model was then implemented in the development of algorithms for fusing imagery from several disparate sensors (visible and infrared). The model and the system as a whole were empirically evaluated in an experiment with fighter pilots in a simulated combat environment. The results show that the model is an accurate depiction of how humans interpret information from multiple disparate sensors, and that the algorithms show promise for assisting fighter pilots in quicker and more accurate target identification.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biomedical, Industrial & Human Factors Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Engineering Commons