The Advanced Linked Extended Reconnaissance & Targeting (ALERT) Technology Demonstration (TD) project is addressing key operational needs of the future Canadian Army's Surveillance and Reconnaissance forces by fusing multi-sensor and tactical data, developing automated processes, and integrating beyond line-of-sight sensing. We discuss concepts for displaying and fusing multi-sensor and tactical data within an Enhanced Operator Control Station (EOCS). The sensor data can originate from the Coyote's own visible-band and IR cameras, laser rangefinder, and ground-surveillance radar, as well as beyond line-of-sight systems such as a mini-UAV and unattended ground sensors. The authors address technical issues associated with the use of fully digital IR and day video cameras and discuss video-rate image processing developed to assist the operator to recognize poorly visible targets. Automatic target detection and recognition algorithms processing both IR and visible-band images have been investigated to draw the operator's attention to possible targets. The machine generated information display requirements are presented with the human factors engineering aspects of the user interface in this complex environment, with a view to establishing user trust in the automation. The paper concludes with a summary of achievements to date and steps to project completion.
While anecdotal reports suggest that Night Vision Goggles influence spatial navigation and wayfinding (Braithwaite, Douglass, Durnford, and Lucas, 1998), few studies have systematically characterized the nature of these effects. To address this issue, the current study examined the impact of NVGs on navigation and wayfinding performance. One group of participants were required to navigate a walking maze and retrieve target objects while wearing NVGs (experimental condition), while a second control group navigated the maze without NVGs. We measured several performance metrics of navigation and wayfinding. Our results show that navigation and wayfinding with NVGs (experimental group) appeared to be harder, with longer navigation durations and more navigational errors compared to not using NVGs (control group). However, a significant decrease in navigation duration over the course of the wayfinding trials occurred earlier with NVGs, in addition to significant decreases in navigational steps compared to the control group. These results support the notion that NVGs directly affect spatial navigation and wayfinding performance. These degradations in performance should be considered in operational planning and NVG training programs. Further research is necessary to expand our understanding of the impact of NVGs on spatial cognition.