Viewpoint tethering for remotely operated vehicles: effects on complex terrain navigation and spatial awareness.Hum Factors 2011; 53(2):154-67HF
The effect of viewpoint on the navigation of complex terrain and on spatial awareness was examined with the use of a simulated remotely operated vehicle.
The ability to build terrain models in real time may soon allow remote vehicular control from any viewpoint. A virtual tether couples the viewpoint to the vehicle's position and orientation, but shows more of the terrain than a fully immersive egocentric display. In this sense, it provides visual momentum by providing a view that incorporates egocentric and exocentric qualities.
For this study, 12 participants navigated a simulated vehicle across complex virtual terrain using five different display viewpoints: egocentric, dynamic tether, rigid tether, 3-D exocentric, and 2-D exocentric. While navigating, participants had to avoid being seen by simulated enemy units. After the navigation task, participants' spatial awareness was assessed using a recognition task.
The tethered displays minimized the time during which the participant's vehicle was visible to enemy positions. The egocentric display was more effective than exocentric displays (2-D or 3-D) for navigation, and the exocentric displays were more effective than egocentric for time seen during navigation and the recognition task. The tethered displays produced intermediate results for navigation and recognition.
Viewpoint tethering produced the most effective displays for minimizing time seen, but tethered displays were less effective than egocentric and exocentric displays for navigation and recognition, respectively.
A tethered display is recommended for applications in which it is necessary to understand the relation of nearby locations to one's own location.