A methodology to measure situational awareness and its effects in a combat multi-agent simulation

Downes, Patrick M., Department of Engineering, University of Virginia
Brown, Don, En-Eng Sys and Environment, University of Virginia
Guerlain, Stephanie, En-Eng Sys and Environment, University of Virginia
Miller, John, En-Civil & Env Engr, University of Virginia

This research has two main objectives. First, it is to objectively measure the amount of situational awareness exhibited by soldiers using the United States Army's next generation infantry equipment, Land Warrior. This equipment is designed to give soldiers an advantage on the battlefield by increasing their ability to communicate with fellow soldiers and allow them to transmit digital communications in the form of text emails and video.

The second objective is to determine what effect increased situational awareness has on other rifle squad performance measures such as lethality and survivability. The utilization of a multi-agent based simulation makes it possible to model the complex world of land combat. Additionally, the multi-agent based simulation models make it possible to model the soldier's ability to communicate as they do with the Land Warrior System.

A multi-agent based simulation provides the modeling environment to design a set of simulations that will help to answer the question what effect improved situational awareness has. A multi-agent model also provides an arena to study how agents behave when they are programmed to have varying levels of situational awareness. In this thesis, a methodology is presented that measures the situational awareness of soldiers using a Distributed Interactive Simulation. The situational awareness of soldiers using two different types of infantry equipment is compared and it is discovered that one type of equipment provides the soldier with better, improved situational awareness. However, these simulation show that there is no significant difference in the lethality or survivability of soldiers using either type of equipment. A multi-agent based combat model was used to further investigate the effects of increased situational awareness on squad lethality and survivability. In the multi-agent simulation, agents with increased situational awareness out performed agents with less situational awareness.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

MS (Master of Science)
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