This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Methodology for Detecting Pilot Fatigue and Head Tilt Measured Using Flight Simulation of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle




Bailey, Judith

Type of Degree



Aerospace Engineering


The objective of this research project was to determine whether the human factors of fatigue and head tilt can be detected in real time by measuring the head motion of pilots flying simulated unmanned aircraft missions. Test subjects flew a set of maneuvers using a fixed-base flight simulator programmed with a General Atomics MQ-1 Predator UAV simulation, while an infrared tracking system tracked the six-degree-of-freedom motion of their heads. Test subjects completed three sessions of data collection. The data collected was date, time, translational motions of x, y, and z, and rotational motions of yaw, pitch, and roll. The collected data was then tabulated and plots of the six-degrees-of-freedom versus time were generated for analysis. Visual observations of the subjects' head motion during the session were compared to the plotted data. Analysis of the data collected supports the conclusion that motions in translational y and rotational pitch are the most promising indicators of fatigue. On the other hand, rotational motions consisting of coupled yaw and roll appear to be the best indicators of head tilt. Due to the limited amount of data, these conclusions are preliminary. However, the methodology presented for observing evidence of phenomena, such as pilot fatigue and head tilt, show considerable promise.