Knowledge of how human operators' tracking behavior is affected by simulator motion cueing settings is of great value for flight simulator design and fidelity evaluations. Previous studies have revealed strong effects of degraded motion cueing quality on human operator control behavior in compensatory tracking, but the presented visual cues in such studies are often not consistent with what operators perceive in more realistic settings, as they typically do not include the visual cues provided by the out-of-the-window view from their vehicle. This paper aims to investigate the effects of the interaction of such outside visual cues and of motion cueing settings on human operator behavior. Thereto, an experiment in a flight simulator was conducted in which participants performed a yaw-axis target-following disturbance-rejection tracking task. The presence of an outside visual scene and simulator motion feedback quality were varied independently. In the experiment, motion cues were either absent or presented with varying attenuation induced by changing the break frequency of a first-order high-pass yaw motion filter. The results indicate a strong effect of outside visual cues on human operator control behavior in the absence of motion feedback, which is comparable to the measured effect of motion feedback. Overall, human operator control behavior was found to be less affected by varying motion cueing settings when the outside visual cues were available in parallel.
Long duration, low task load environments are typical for nuclear power plant control rooms, where operators, after hours of operating under a low task load situation, may have to shift to a high task load situation. The effects of time-on-task and boredom due to low task load will be an important consideration for the design of new nuclear power plant control rooms, which will rely more heavily on automation. This paper describes a research study of performance in a simulated nuclear control room environment, where 36 participants responded to an alarm during a 4 hour long experiment where the alarm onset time and the availability of distractions were varied. The results indicate that operators perform better in a sterile environment and that the duration of non-active time before the alarm influences operator performance.
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