MFRA engineers supporting NASA’s Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) led a unique experiment in collaboration with the US Coast Guard last year to study human performance related to small boat recovery operations. Design, implementation, and results of the Boat Recovery Simulation were presented at the AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition (AIAA SciTech Forum) at Orlando, Florida in January 2020. This AIAA program covers the science, technologies, and policies that are shaping the future of aerospace, and is the largest event for aerospace research, development, and technology in the world.
MFRA presented details of experiment setup, including a software operation model designed around empirical boat position data; development of a replica boat section manufactured to incorporate real-world task elements; and the means to collect objective and subjective data from human participants.
Ultimately, the U.S. Coast Guard and NASA experiment goals were achieved by designing an experiment using the VMS to simulate varying sea-states and collecting human performance data on small boat recovery operations. Participants reported that the motion experienced at the VMS was realistic and the artificial features added to the experiment for safety and experiment management requirements were appropriate. As the first experiment to simulate a boat at the VMS, the USCG and NASA successfully demonstrated a reliable approach to modeling different sea-states for the OTH-IV, building a bow section of the OTH-IV and fitting it to an I-CAB, and developing hazard mitigations and safety features. Additionally, the approach described in this paper leveraged the VMS’s flexible architecture to develop a system that can introduce more variety in sea-state profiles, collect more data, and improve the simulation to incorporate more real-world features.
The full conference paper is available at https://www.aiaa.org/SciTech/utility/past-forums