Head-Up Display for Current Force Vehicles

Report No. ARL-TR-5167
Authors: Jessie Y. C. Chen and Razia V. Nayeem
Date/Pages: May 2010; 44 pages
Abstract: The Scalable Embedded Training - Mission Rehearsal Army Technology Objective of the U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command Simulation and Training Technology Center is developing an innovative prototype visual imaging system, the switchable vision block, for embedded vehicle driver training, mission rehearsals, and mission operations. The effort will focus on current force combat vehicle vision blocks and night driving sensors. U.S. Army Research Laboratory researchers are designing a head-up display (HUD) that can overlay driving-related information (e.g., speed, fuel, engine feedback) on the vision blocks as well as provide situational awareness and C4 information to the driver. Drivers of Bradley and Stryker vehicles at Ft. Benning, GA, and U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command were surveyed, and their recommended design features of the HUD were incorporated in the prototype HUD. HUDs have been found to be an effective means to enhance pilot situational awareness by making information more accessible to the pilot. However, past research has also shown that large amounts of information, while helpful in reducing the operator's scanning effort by providing more data in a centralized area, can create visual clutter and degrade the operator's information processing due to cognitive overload. Additionally, overlaying information on the vision blocks can potentially lead to attentional narrowing, as an operator's attention can be captured by the overlaid data while important elements/developments in the environment might be overlooked. Therefore, the display design tradeoffs between adding information to the vision blocks and the potential attentional narrowing effects need to be systematically evaluated. A study was conducted to evaluate differences in performance using a HUD vs. a traditional head-down display (HDD). Results showed that for objective driving performance, the HUD actually results in slightly worse performance and produces an attentional narrowing effect. However, on self-report measures, participants preferred the HUD to the HDD.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: May 1, 2010