Member of the Cybernetics Approach to Perception and Action research (CAPA) group.
Manual control of a vehicle (e.g. aircraft, helicopter, car) requires the human controller to efficiently steer the vehicle along a certain path while being perturbed by disturbances. The pilot will make use of all available sensory information (mainly visual and vestibular) and prior knowledge to optimize the control performance and/or reduce effort1. Manual control behavior is studied to improve vehicle design, and models can be used to simulate the response of the combined pilot-vehicle system. Existing models of manual control behavior only consider a feedback component, i.e., a control response on the error between the target and the system output. The feedforward component, i.e., a control input responding to the reference directly in an open-loop manner, was hypothesized frequently in literature, but was never studied nor identified from human-in-the-loop experimental data [see Figure]. We developed identification methods to study feedforward behavior, and investigated this behavior in control tasks representing helicopter roll-lateral sidestep maneuver.
It is our goal 1) to identify the feedforward component from human-in-the-loop experimental data for a better understanding of manual control, and 2) to improve on the existing models of manual control by including the feedforward component for use in simulations.
Subjects perform a number of control tasks in the simulator. Subjects control a simulated vehicle and follow a reference object as accurate as possible. The control inputs u, reference signal f_t, and error signal e are recorded. System identification techniques are used to identify a linear model of the human controller.
We identified the hypothesized feedforward control action from experimental data in a single-loop control task2, and found strong evidence of feedforward control in the multi-loop helicopter roll-lateral sidestep task3. We identified in depth how humans adjust their feedforward response to the reference signal and the system dynamics, by means of a system identification method that we developed specifically for these studies. The currently ongoing study will investigate feedforward control in control tasks with motion feedback.
The feedforward component is key to understanding control behavior in realistic control tasks.
1 J. Rasmussen, "Skills, Rules, and Knowledge; Signals, Signs, and Symbols, and Other Distinctions in Human Performance Models," IEEE Trans. on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 257-266, 1983.
2 Drop, F.M., Pool, D.M., Damveld, H.J., van Paassen, M.M., Mulder, M., "Identification of the Feedforward Component in Manual Control With Predictable Target Signals," Cybernetics, IEEE Trans. on, vol.43, no. 6, pp.1936,1949, 2013.
3 Drop, F.M., Pool, D.M., van Paassen, M.M., Mulder, M., and Bülthoff, H.H., "Feedforward and Feedback Control Behavior in Helicopter Pilots during a Lateral Reposition Task", AHS Forum 69, 2013.
Frank was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1986 and studied Aerospace Engineering at the Technical University Delft, the Netherlands. He is interested in all facets of human behavior and the behavior of the human in control of a vehicle in particular and thus joined the group of professor Mulder on Human-Machine Interaction. While reading the works and papers written in the 60s on manual control experiments carried out at (among others) NASA and STI, his interest was immediately sparked.
After a positive experience during his internship at the department of Prof. Bülthoff in 2009 he was keen on returning to the MPI for Biological Cybernetics for his PhD project, that started in September 2011.
, , , and (December-2013) Identification of the Feedforward Component of Manual Control in Tasks with Predictable Target Signals
IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics 43(6) 1936-1949.
Conference papers (3):
, , , , and (May-2014) Subjective and Objective Metrics for the Evaluation of Motion Cueing Fidelity for a Roll-Lateral Reposition Maneuver, 70th American Helicopter Society International Annual Forum (AHS 2014), Curran, Red Hook, NY, USA, 1706-1720.
, , , and (May-2013) Feedforward and Feedback Control Behavior in Helicopter Pilots during a Lateral Reposition Task, 69th American Helicopter Society International Annual Forum (AHS 2013), Curran, Red Hook, NY, USA, 1797-1811.
, , , , and (October-2012) Identification of the Transition from Compensatory to Feedforward Behavior in Manual Control, IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC 2012), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 2008-2013.