“Too close for missles, I’m switching to guns.”
Many high-end luxury cars feature voice recognition to simplify such mundane tasks as controlling radio volume/tuning, adjusting the climate control and setting GPS navigation waypoints. The use of voice commands allows drivers to focus more intently on driving instead of fiddling with buttons or accessing increasingly complex driver interface systems like iDrive, COMMAND or MMI.
Researchers for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Human Effectiveness Directorate have similar aims at simplifying the current control schemes used in today’s fighter aircraft. Researchers are currently using a NF-16D Variable-stability In-flight Simulator Test Aircraft (VISTA) to fine-tune the voice recognition system that will be used in the F-35 Lightning II.
The system has been tweaked to enhance voice recognition performance and minimize errors. An error rate of less than two percent is expected for the voice recognition system.
The DynaSpeak speech recognition software used was developed by SRI International. SRI has previous experience developing voice recognition software for in-car navigation systems and mobile devices.
“We’re going to work with the vendor to improve the baseline system for the F-35,” said David Williamson, senior crew systems engineer for the directorate’s Warfighter Interface Division. “Collaboratively, we’re going to make the system much better before it even gets to the initial operational test and evaluation phase.”
While the F-35 Lightning II will be the first next generation fighter to receive the voice recognition system, the F-22 Raptor could be retrofitted if tests are successful.