Human Factors Evaluation of the g-MAV Micro-Air Vehicle

Report No. ARL-TR-4169
Authors: Rodger A. Pettitt and Jeffrey Williams
Date/Pages: July 2007; 65 pages
Abstract: This study was conducted by the U.S. Army Research Laboratorys Human Research and Engineering Directorate in support of the Soldier Battle Labs (SBL) micro-air vehicle (MAV) Advanced Concept and Technology Demonstration (ACTD). The MAV ACTD was a 4-year program consisting of requirements definition, technology development, integration, demonstrations, and assessments. The primary purpose of the study was to conduct a comprehensive human factors evaluation of the gaspowered version MAV (g-MAV) system. The study was conducted in conjunction with the SBLs military utility assessment (MUA) of the system. Force-on-force operational missions were conducted in order to assess the military utility of the g-MAV system. The operational missions consisted of reconnoitering a built-up area and searching a building, conducting a route reconnaissance, and conducting an area reconnaissance. All missions were executed during the hours of daylight. The human factors engineering evaluation of the g-MAV system was accomplished during the MUA through the use of structured questionnaires, expert observations, Soldier interviews, and after-action reviews. Results demonstrate that when operating properly, the g-MAV system enhanced situational awareness by enabling Soldiers to identify and confirm enemy positions, personnel, and vehicles without exposing themselves to risk. The results also indicated several areas requiring improvement, including system reliability, durability, and operator proficiency. Specific procedures that were problematic for the Soldiers were engine tuning, reconfiguration of radios, pre-flight checks, and avionics pod interchange procedures. Recommendations were made to improve training by expanding the duration of the operator training course and restructuring the training to focus more time on areas where Soldiers demonstrated performance deficiencies.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: July 1, 2007