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Improving Aviation Safety with Information Visualization: Airflow Hazard Display for Pilots. Cecilia R. Aragon IEOR 170 UC Berkeley Spring 2006. Acknowledgments. This work was funded by the NASA Ames Full-Time Graduate Study Program (Ph.D. in Computer Science at UC Berkeley)

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Improving aviation safety with information visualization airflow hazard display for pilots l.jpg

Improving Aviation Safety with Information Visualization:Airflow Hazard Display for Pilots

Cecilia R. Aragon

IEOR 170

UC Berkeley

Spring 2006


Acknowledgments l.jpg
Acknowledgments

  • This work was funded by the NASA Ames Full-Time Graduate Study Program (Ph.D. in Computer Science at UC Berkeley)

  • Thanks to my advisor at UC Berkeley, Professor Marti Hearst, and Navy flight test engineer Kurtis Long

  • Thanks to Advanced Rotorcraft Technology, Inc. for the use of their high-fidelity flight simulator

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Talk Outline

  • Introduction

  • Related Work

  • Preliminary Usability Study

  • Flight Simulation Usability Study

  • Conclusions and Further Work

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Introduction l.jpg
Introduction

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Motivation

  • Invisible airflow hazards cause aircraft accidents

    • Wind shear

    • Microbursts

    • Vortices (turbulence)

    • Downdrafts

    • Hot exhaust plumes

  • Crash of Delta Flight 191 at DFW 1985 (microburst)

  • NTSB database 1989-99

    • 21,380 aircraft accidents

    • 2,098 turbulence/wind related

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The Problem

  • Invisible airflow hazards cause aircraft accidents

    • Air is invisible, so pilots can’t see hazards

    • If air flows past obstacles, flow will become more turbulent

  • Helicopters are especially vulnerable

    • Rotorcraft aerodynamics

    • Must operate in confined spaces

    • Operationally stressful conditions (EMS, military operations, shipboard operations)

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A Possible Solution

  • If pilots could see hazards, could take appropriate action

  • New lidar technology suggests a solution

    • Lidar (light detection and ranging) is essentially laser radar. A laser transmits light which is scattered by aerosols or air molecules and then collected by a sensor. Doppler lidar can detect the position and velocity of air particles.

  • My research focuses on the human interface -- how to visualize the sensor data for pilots -- too much information could overload pilot during critical moments

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Research Approach

  • User-centered (iterative) design process

  • Simulated interface for head-up display (HUD) based on lidar sensors that scan area ahead of helicopter and acquire airflow velocity data

  • Focused on helicopter-shipboard landings

  • Importance of realism:

    • Used actual flight test data from shipboard testing, high-fidelity helicopter simulator, experienced military and civilian helicopter pilots

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Rationale for using Shipboard Landings

  • Why focus on helicopter shipboard landings?

    • Problem is real: dangerous environment, want to improve safety

    • Ship superstructures always produce airwake

  • Large quantities of flight test data due to demanding environment

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Related Work

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Related Work

  • Flow visualization

  • Aviation displays

  • Navy “Dynamic Interface” flight tests

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Flow visualization

  • Detailed flow visualizations designed for scientists or engineers to analyze at length

  • Much work has been done in this area [Laramee et al 04]

    • Streamlines, contour lines (instantaneous flow) [Buning 89], [Strid et al 89], [Helman, Hesselink 91]

    • Spot noise [van Wijk 93], line integral convolution [Cabral, Leedom 93], flow volumes [Max, Becker, Crawfis 93], streaklines, timelines [Lane 96], moving textures [Max, Becker 95] (unsteady flow)

    • Automated detection of swirling flow [Haimes, Kenwright 95]

    • Terrain and turbulence visualization [LeClerc et al 02]

  • But usually no user tests [Laidlaw et al 01], andnot real-time

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Aviation displays

  • Synthetic and enhanced vision and augmented-reality displays [Hughes et al 02], [Parrish 03], [Spitzer et al 01], [Kramer 99], [Wickens 97]

  • Weather visualization, microburst detection [NASA AWIN, TPAWS], [Latorella 01], [Spirkovska 00], turbulence detection/prediction [Britt et al 02], [Kaplan 02]

  • Wake vortex visualization [Holforty 03]

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Navy Ship-Rotorcraft Compatibility Flight Testing (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Very hazardous environment [Wilkinson et al 98]

  • Significant amounts of flight testing [Williams et al 99]

  • Recognized need for pilot testing

  • Goal: improve safety

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Current state of the art (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Ship/helicopter flight tests, wind tunnel tests, CFD

  • Develop operational envelopes

    • Limit allowable landing conditions significantly

    • Envelopes are conservative for safety reasons

  • Pilots use intuition, but accidents still occur

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Preliminary Usability Study (“Dynamic Interface”)

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Preliminary usability study: goals (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Assess efficacy of presenting airflow data in flight

  • Obtain expert feedback on presentation of sample hazard indicators to refine design choices

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Usability study: low-fidelity prototype (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Rhino3D (3D CAD modeling program)

    • Easy access to ship models, ease of rapid prototyping

    • Chosen over 2D paper prototype, MS Flight Simulator, WildTangent, VRML-based tools, Java and Flash

  • Series of animations simulating helicopter’s final approach to landing

  • Different types of hazard indicators

  • Get pilot feedback and suggestions (interactive prototyping)

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Low-fi usability study screen shots (“Dynamic Interface”)

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Low-fi usability study screen shots (“Dynamic Interface”)

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Low-fi usability study participants (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Navy helicopter test pilot, 2000 hours of flight time, 17 years experience

  • Navy helicopter flight test engineer, 2000+ hours of simulator time, 100 hours of flight time, 17 years experience

  • Civilian helicopter flight instructor, 1740 hours of flight time, 3 years experience

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Low-fi usability study results (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • All participants said they would use system

  • Feedback on hazard indicators:

    • Color: all preferred red/yellow only

    • Transparency: should be visible enough to get attention, but must be able to see visual cues behind it

    • Depth cueing: all preferred shadows below object, #1 said shadows alone sufficient. #2 wanted connecting line. No one wanted tick marks or numeric info.

    • Texture: #1, #2 didn’t want. #3 suggested striping

    • Shape: Rectilinear and cloud shapes favored. Keep it simple! Watch for conflicting HUD symbology.

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Low-fi usability study results (cont’d) (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Motion is distracting!

    1: absolutely no motion

    2: didn’t like motion

    3: slow rotation on surface of cloud OK, nothing fast

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Low-fi usability study conclusions (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • They want it!

  • Keep it simple

    • Color: red & yellow only (red = danger, yellow = caution)

    • Less complex shapes preferred

  • Use accepted symbology/metaphors

    • Watch for conflicting HUD symbology

  • Decision support system, not scientific visualization system

    • Show effects rather than causes

    • Don’t want distraction during high-workload task

    • Preference for static rather than dynamic indicators

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Flight Simulation Usability Study (“Dynamic Interface”)


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Flight Simulation Usability Study (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Implement visual hazard display system in simulator based on results from low-fidelity prototype

  • Advanced Rotorcraft Technology, Inc. in Mountain View, CA, USA

    • High-fidelity helicopter flight simulator

    • Accurate aerodynamic models

  • Use existing ship and helicopter models, flight test data

  • Simulated hazardous conditions, create scenarios, validated by Navy pilots and flight engineers

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Flight Simulation Usability Study: Participants (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • 16 helicopter pilots

    • from all 5 branches of the military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines)

    • civilian test pilots (NASA)

    • wide range of experience

      • 200 to 7,300 helicopter flight hours (median 2,250 hours)

      • 2 to 46 years of experience (median 13 years)

      • age 25 to 65 (median age 36)

  • No previous experience with airflow hazard visualization

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Simulation Experiment Design (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • 4 x 4 x 2 within-subjects design (each pilot flew the same approaches)

  • 4 shipboard approach scenarios

  • 4 landing difficulty levels (US Navy Pilot Rating Scale - PRS 1-4)

  • Each scenario was flown at all difficulty levels both with and without hazard indicators

  • Orders of flight were varied to control for learning effects

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Airflow Hazard Indicators in Simulator (“Dynamic Interface”)

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Landing difficulty (“Dynamic Interface”)

Description

Purpose

Hazard indicator

LD 1

No problems; minimal pilot effort required

Control

None

LD 2

Moderate pilot effort required; most pilots able to land safely

Test negative effects of hazard indicator

Yellow/None

LD 3

Maximum pilot effort required; repeated safe landings may not be possible

Test benefit of hazard indicator

Yellow/None

LD 4

Controllability in question; safe landings not probable

Test benefit of hazard indicator combined with pilot SOP

Red/None

Simulation Experiment Design

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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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Dependent Variables (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Objective data: sampled at 10 Hz from simulator

    • aircraft velocity and position in x, y, z

    • lateral and longitudinal cyclic position and velocity

    • collective and pedal positions and velocities

    • landing gear forces and velocities

    • (A “crash” was defined as an impact with the ship deck with a vertical velocity of more than 12 fps)

  • Subjective data: 21-probe Likert-scale questionnaire administered to pilots after flight

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Hypotheses (“Dynamic Interface”)

1. Crash rate will be reduced by the presence of hazard indicator (LD 3).

2. Crashes will be eliminated by red hazard indicator if a standard operating procedure (SOP) is given to the pilots (LD 4).

3. Hazard indicator will not cause distraction or degradation in performance in situations where adequate performance is expected without indicator (LD 2).

4. Pilots will say they would use airflow hazard visualization system

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Hypothesis 1 confirmed l.jpg
Hypothesis 1 confirmed (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Presence of the hazard indicator reduces the frequency of crashes during simulated shipboard helicopter landings (t-test for paired samples, t=2.39, df=63, p=0.00985). 19% --> 6.3%

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Hypothesis 2 confirmed (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Presence of the red hazard indicator combined with appropriate instructions to the pilot prevents crashes (t=4.39, df=63, p < 0.000022). 23%-->0%

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Hypothesis 3 (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • No negative effect of hazard indicator. 8%-->8%

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Hypothesis 3 (cont’d) (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Pilots believe hazard indicators were not distracting (Probe 6 results).

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Hypothesis 4 confirmed (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Pilots would use the system (Probe 21 results).

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Pilot workload: (“Dynamic Interface”)Power spectrum analysis of control inputs

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Go-Arounds (Aborted Landings) (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Does the presence of the hazard indicator increase the go-around rate?

  • No significant differences found.

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Analysis by Pilot Experience Level (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Does pilot experience level have any effect on the benefits produced by the hazard indicators?

  • To find out, divide pilots into three groups:

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Analysis by Pilot Experience Level (cont’d) (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Same general trends -- but small sample size

  • No significant difference between the groups

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Analysis of Subjective Data (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • 94% found hazard indicators helpful

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Analysis of Subjective Data (cont’d) (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Is motion (animation) helpful or distracting?

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Conclusions and Further Work (“Dynamic Interface”)

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Conclusions (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Flight-deck visualization of airflow hazards yields a significant improvement in pilot ability to land safely under turbulent conditions in simulator

  • Type of visualization to improve operational safety much simpler than that required for analysis

  • Success of user-centered design procedure

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Further Work (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Additional data analysis

  • Further studies

  • Steps toward system deployment

  • Extensions to other areas

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Additional data analysis (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Power spectrum analysis of control input data

  • Flight path deviations and landing dispersion

  • Quantitative measures of landing quality

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Further studies (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Quantitatively compare hazard indicators with other types

    • light/buzzer in cockpit

    • animated indicator

    • numeric information such as airflow velocity

  • Adaptive displays

    • more detailed at beginning of approach, simpler at end

    • how adapt to pilot state? physiological sensors vs. pilot-selectable modes

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Steps toward system deployment (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Collaboration with lidar developers, integration with real-time data

  • Integration with synthetic vision displays

  • Augmented reality image registration

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Extensions to other areas (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • Other aviation domains

    • aerial firefighting

    • search and rescue

    • offshore oil platforms

    • unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

    • fixed-wing operations

  • Space exploration

  • Emergency response

  • Automobiles or other motor vehicles

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Extra Slides (“Dynamic Interface”)

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Crash Statistics for All Landing Difficulties (“Dynamic Interface”)

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Control group (LD 1) (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • No significant difference between crash rate at LD 1 (control) and LD 2 with hazard indicator and LD 3 with hazard indicator. 9% - 8% - 6%

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Learning Effects? (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • First half: 25 crashes/224; second half: 22/224.

  • Not a significant difference --> no apparent bias.

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Airflow Hazard Indicator (Aft Scenario) (“Dynamic Interface”)

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Airflow Hazard Indicator (Bow Scenario) (“Dynamic Interface”)

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Pilot Demographics (“Dynamic Interface”)

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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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IEOR 170 (“Dynamic Interface”)


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Low-fi usability study: methodology (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • 1 ½-hour interview in front of projection screen, videotaped

  • Two experimenters, one operates computer, one asks questions

  • Display series of hazard indicators in Rhino3D

  • Variables:

    • Shape

    • Color

    • Transparency

    • Texture

    • Depth cueing

    • Motion

  • Ask specific and open-ended questions throughout the interview

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“The Holy Grail” – Quote from Pilot #1 (“Dynamic Interface”)

  • “The holy grail…”

    • increase safety and

    • increase operational capability

  • Usually you either have:

    • increased safety but have operational restrictions…or

    • greater operational capability but have risks associated with employing that additional capability...

  • “In this case you actually have a concept that could potentially give you both.”

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