Command and Control Interfaces for Predator Squadron Operations Centers (P-SOC)

Period of Performance: 07/28/2003 - 04/28/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

US Positioning Group, LLC
Williams Gateway Airport, 5865 S.Sossama
Mesa, AZ 85212
Principal Investigator


The goal of this effort is to develop and assess user interface designs including, displays and other collaboration aids, to reduce cognitive load and to improve distributed C2 decision making and overall performance in complex team environments. An ideal test-bed for our approach is the Predator Squadron Operations Center, or P-SOC, initiative now being developed by the Air Force UAV Battle Lab. A de facto P-SOC has emerged in every recent Predator deployment to facilitate Predator operations; however, this entity has never been fully defined, equipped, or standardized. Preliminary P-SOC designs and user interfaces have been proposed by the P-SOC initiative group. What is critically lacking is the methodology to assess these designs. Additionally, when poor designs are encountered guidance is needed for interface improvements. Specifically, the goal of this SBIR project is to develop an assessment and improvement methodology for P-SOC user interfaces. Our proposed effort will evaluate, assess, and recommend improved designs to the current P-SOC operational structure and user interfaces using a cognitive task analysis. In Phase II, the P-SOC operations will be simulated using a synthetic task environment which will serve as a test bed to test and quantify P-SOC performance using various interface designs. Team-based command and control centers play an increasingly critical role in arenas ranging from air traffic control centers to battlefields to nuclear power plants. Teams can be made up of members located in close proximity or they can be distributed across great distances. The growing advances in technology and the resulting complexity of tasks have increased the need for teamwork. At the same time, these demands have increased the cognitive complexity of team tasks. Team members must interpret situations, remember procedures, plan, make decisions, and solve problems as an integrated unit. As a result, effective and efficient team user interfaces, training systems, and team intervention methodologies to maximize team performance will be a well-defined growth market.