Virtual Environment Study of Sensor Mix Effects on Ground Soldiers' Situational Awareness

Report No. ARL-TR-3381
Authors: Daniel D. Turner and Christian B. Carstens
Date/Pages: December 2004; 30 pages
Abstract: The Fort Benning (Georgia) Field Element of the Human Research and Engineering Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory conducted an experiment in conjunction with the Communications and Electronics Command?s Research, Development, and Engineering Center, Night Vision Electronic Sensor Division, to investigate the effects of different sensor mixes on the situational awareness (SA) of dismounted Soldiers. The results from this study will be used to document the level of sensors needed for Soldiers to maintain SA with information systems such as the Smart Sensor Web in military operations in urban terrain environments. The experiment was conducted in the Soldier Battle Lab's squad synthetic environment, a virtual environment that allows the squad to participate in force-on-force exercises. The four squads that participated in the experiment conducted infantry operations using vignettes that were prepared to include as many situations as possible that are typically encountered during infantry operations. At selected points in the vignette, the Soldiers were administered SA critical information knowledge assessment questionnaires to determine the level of SA achieved with each of the four sensor mix options. These mixes were --Mix 1- Distributed cueing sensors in key locations around the village (acoustic, seismic, magnetic sensors that can discriminate by type, person, vehicle). -- Mix 2- Mix 1 sensors plus one hovering/perching unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with fixed infrared camera sensor. --Mix 3 - Mix 1 and 2 sensors plus fixed imagers in key locations inside the village. Mix 4- Mix 1, 2, and 3 sensors plus advanced cueing sensors with automated target detection and classification, autonomous imagers, and one additional hovering/perching UAV with fixed infrared camera sensor.The results indicated that the addition of fixed imagers in key locations inside the village significantly increases the SA of the individuals in the infantry squad.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: December 1, 2004