This paper will describe an experiment that investigates the influence of force feedback on collision avoidance, control behavior and workload in the tele-operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Artificial force fields are used to provide force information. Subjects are asked to control a stability-augmented UAV helicopter through an obstacle-loaded environment. Visual information is provided by a display containing the simulated forward looking camera view and a navigation display, providing a top-down view. The force feedback algorithm is only implemented for the horizontal plane. Problems related to the general principle of an artificial force field that occur with autonomous robots, such as difficult passage through closely-spaced obstacles or oscillatory motions of the vehicle might also occur here, and are represented by the stick motions. Various subtasks during the experiment are conducted to investigate whether these possible problems actually occur and how they affect the operator performance and workload. The experiment results indicate that haptic feedback is very useful to assist the human tele-operator to avoid collisions, especially in cases where the visual information becomes insufficient. The minimum distance between the vehicle and an obstacle increases and the time spent within a critical distance towards an obstacle decreases, all leading to a higher level of safety.
Lam, T. M.,
& van Paassen, M.
(2005). Effects of Haptic Feedback in the Tele-Operation of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. 2005 International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 431-437.