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Helping U.S. Army Improve Intelligence Gathering

Helping U.S. Army Improve Intelligence Gathering

April 11, 2013

Homeland & Cyber Security, Press Releases

BEER-SHEVA, Israel, April 11, 2013 – Combining video feeds from unmanned ground and aerial vehicles in a single screen will aid soldiers with orientation and identification tasks, according to a new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers funded by the United States Army.

Dismounted operational tactics in urban areas are often aided by information from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The challenge for the dismounted soldier who receives video feed from UAVs lays in the ability to understand the global situation in the conflict area.

The aerial feed is usually used to enhance soldiers’ situation awareness abilities, but less for identifying specific elements. A possible way to enhance soldiers’ orientation and awareness is to display multiple sources of information.

This study examined the value of adding video feeds from unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) along with aerial feeds, as opposed to using aerial feed alone. Thirty BGU engineering students who served in Israel’s combat infantry units for at least three years and have done a stint of reserve duty in the year previous to the experiment participated in the study.

The former soldiers received infantry training, but none were trained on operating UGVs. Objective mission-related performances and eye-tracking patterns were examined.

The results show that performance scores in both the identification and orientation tasks were superior in the combined interface. In addition, few consistent eye-scanning strategies were found, and generally participants preferred to use the ground feed video over the aerial feed. These results contradict previous findings that state that orientation tasks are better achieved through the use of aerial feeds.

“Lessons learned from the war on terror led to the development of new operation methods that are heavily aided by remote-controlled machines,” explains Dr. Tal Oron-Gilad, of BGU’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Management and Homeland Security Institute.

Other researchers in the study include Dr. Yisrael Parmet, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Management; Ronny Ophir-Arbelle, UX designer and usability specialist at Code Value and Dr. Avinoam Borowsky, researcher at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The study was supported by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory through the Micro-Analysis and Design CTA.

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) celebrates its 50th birthday this year, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications