University Studies Human Factors in UAS Operations via Simlat Simulation System

Philadelphia-based Drexel University has been deploying an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) training and simulation system from Simlat to study human factors in drone operations.

The use of the system is facilitated by Drexel’s membership in the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), the Federal Aviation Administration’s UAS Center of Excellence (COE).

The C-STAR system includes Simlat’s performance analysis and evaluation module (PANEL), which collects and processes simulation data to produce comprehensive reports of trainees’ performance in various tasks, malfunctions and missions throughout a training session.

In November, Drexel’s CONQUER Collaborative performed an experiment that focused on monitoring the performance of the UAS payload operator during training via a wearable brain monitoring technology – namely, functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). In this experiment, subjects with no previous experience with UAS were tasked with sensor and payload operation, which required skills such as systematic approach, situational awareness and spatial orientation. Performance was measured using an fNIRS system and Simlat’s PANEL. The experiment demonstrated increased proficiency and reduced cognitive effort as subjects gained more experience, says Simlat.

“This study has been one of the early attempts in the UAS training to develop advanced performance assessment technologies, as well as personalized and adaptive training methods,” says Kurtulus Izzetoglu, PhD, an associate research professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems and one of Drexel’s institutional leads for the FAA ASSURE COE.

The Drexel team hosts two of SIMLAT’s C-STAR systems to use as a drone training simulator platform for their research.

“We are very grateful and appreciative of Simlat’s support and close collaboration on our research,” notes Izzetoglu.

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