Interaction Design for Remote Control of Military Unmanned Ground Vehicles
Abstract: The fast technology development for military unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) has led to a considerable demand to explore the soldier’s role in an interactive UGV system. This thesis explores how to design interactive systems for UGVs for infantry soldiers in the Swedish Armed Force. This was done through a user-centered design approach in three steps; (1) identifying the design drivers of the targeted military context through qualitative observations and user interviews, (2) using the design drivers to investigate concepts for controlling the UGV, and (3) create and evaluate a prototype of an interactive UGV system design. Results from interviews indicated that design drivers depend on the physical and psychological context of the intended soldiers. In addition, exploring the different concepts showed that early conceptual designs helped the user express their needs of a non-existing system. Furthermore, the results indicate that an interactive UGV system does not necessarily need to be at the highest level of autonomy in order to be useful for the soldiers on the field. The final prototype of an interactive UGV system was evaluated using a demonstration video, a Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), and semi-structured user interviews. Results from this evaluation suggested that the soldiers see the potential usefulness of an interactive UGV system but are not entirely convinced. In conclusion, this thesis argues that in order to design an interactive UGV system, the most critical aspect is the soldiers’ acceptance of the new system. Moreover, for soldiers to accept the concept of military UGVs, it is necessary to understand the context of use and the needs of the soldiers. This is done by involving the soldiers already in the conceptual design process and then throughout the development phases.
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