Nearly all explosive ordnance disposal robots in use today employ monoscopic standard-definition video cameras to
relay live imagery from the robot to the operator. With this approach, operators must rely on shadows and other
monoscopic depth cues in order to judge distances and object depths. Alternatively, they can contact an object with the
robot's manipulator to determine its position, but that approach carries with it the risk of detonation from unintentionally
disturbing the target or nearby objects.
We recently completed a study in which high-definition (HD) and stereoscopic video cameras were used in addition to
conventional standard-definition (SD) cameras in order to determine if higher resolutions and/or stereoscopic depth cues
improve operators' overall performance of various unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) tasks. We also studied the effect
that the different vision modes had on operator comfort. A total of six different head-aimed vision modes were used
including normal-separation HD stereo, SD stereo, "micro" (reduced separation) SD stereo, HD mono, and SD mono
(two types). In general, the study results support the expectation that higher resolution and stereoscopic vision aid UGV
teleoperation, but the degree of improvement was found to depend on the specific task being performed; certain tasks
derived notably more benefit from improved depth perception than others. This effort was sponsored by the Joint
Ground Robotics Enterprise under Robotics Technology Consortium Agreement #69-200902 T01. Technical management was provided by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's Robotics Research and Development Group at Tyndall AFB, Florida.