A prototype command and control interface that could allow operators to launch and track simultaneously 25% more UAVs than current systems without any increase in errors is to be demonstrated later this year by Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories.

The prototype control interface will use neuroscience-based technologies to assist the controller. The technologies are being developed under the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Improving Warfighter Information Intake under Stress programme.

Lockheed has been awarded $650,000 for the programme's fourth phase and will use its "performance augmentation through cognitive enhancement" architecture. "Gauges receive physiological data to provide [a picture] of cognitive workload levels," says Lockheed's principal investigator Patrice Tremoulet. "When it approaches overload, the system may slow the rate of information or change its presentation format."

He says the gauges include electroencephalographs and electrocardiographs and they monitor human cortical electrical activity, blood oxygenation, heart rate, skin conductance and pupil dilation. "These physiological markers depart from normal levels during periods of high workload, distraction and drowsiness," Tremoulet says.

Source: Flight International