3-D audio in the fighter cockpit improves task performance
A flight simulator experiment was conducted to explore the benefits of 3-dimensional (3-D) audio to support in-cockpit tasks regarding performance and workload. In half of the conditions, 1 or 2 tasks requiring information from a head-down display (HDD) were supported by 3-D audio. The performance on several tasks improved when 3-D audio was present, whereas no negative performance effects were found. Furthermore, the frequency of eye movements to the HDD was reduced more than 50% in all 3-D audio conditions. Physiological measures were not affected, indicating that mental effort was the same in all conditions. Only a small reduction in subjective workload in some 3-D audio conditions was observed. Pilots were also able to process the information from 2 independent 3-D auditory displays that were present at the same time. The results show that pilots can perform flight and in-cockpit tasks more efficiently when they are supported by 3-D audio.
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Journal of aviation psychology, 14 (14), 239-256