Flying Frustum: A Spatial Interface for Enhancing Human- UAV Awareness

We present Flying Frustum, a 3D spatial interface that enables control of semi-autonomous UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) using pen interaction on a physical model of the terrain, and that spatially situates the information streaming from the UAVs onto the physical model. Our interface is based on a 3D printout of the terrain, which allows the operator to enter goals and paths to the UAV by drawing them directly on the physical model. In turn, the UAV’s streaming reconnaissance information is superimposed on the 3D printout as a view frustum, which is situated according to the UAV’s position and orientation on the actual terrain. We argue that Flying Frustum’s 3D spatially situated interaction can potentially help improve human-UAV awareness, allow a better operators-to-UAV ratio, and enhance the overall situational awareness. We motivate our design approach for Flying Frustum, discuss previous related work in CSCW and HRI, present our current prototype using both handheld and headset augmented reality interfaces, reflect on Flying Frustum’s strengths and weaknesses, and discuss our plans for future evaluation and prototype improvements.
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), augmented reality, human-robot interaction (HRI), situational awareness, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW)