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Developing Auto-Stereoscopic Displays for Aviation

Due to advanced technoligical developments, pilot are flooded with enormous amounts of information at a time, which they must use to make critical decisions. One way of helping the pilot process such large quantities of information is to display it at different stereoscopic depth levels. As wearing stereoscopic glasses in the cockpit is impossible,our study focused on auto-stereoscopic displays that allow depth perception without requiring special glasses. The goal of the study was to test the effect of auto-stereoscopic displays on pilot performance in the cockpit. Three different aspects were tested in three experiments conducted with expert pilots:  Aerial situation awareness; Distance and height assessments; and Attention capture by flight panel indicator. In the first experiment, aerial flight scenarios were developed and participants were instructed to intercept an enemy plane without harming friendly planes or entering forbidden flight areas. In the second experiment, 3-D maps simulating an urban region were developed and the pilots were asked to estimate the distance and the height of buildings. In the third experiment, a display was developed to simulate a 3-D warning system for the flight panel to which the participants would respond as quickly as possible, according to the priority of the warning. All the scenarios and images were displayed in separate series of stereoscopic and 2-D modes. In addition, participants were given a questionnaire and were asked to rank their satisfaction from the various displays, and to report how they felt physically after using the auto-stereoscopic monitor. The results indicate improvement in different measurements when the tasks were performed stereoscopically. Our study concluded that most of the pilots preferred the auto-stereoscopic display to the 2-D one and reported feeling physically quite good after using them.