[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The title of this paper, posed as a question, reflects the current interest in gaining an improved understanding of visual perception in flight control to inform the development of design guidelines for future pilot vision aids. The paper develops the optical flow theory of visual perception into its most recent incarnation, tau-coupling, where tau is the time to closure to surfaces at current velocity. General tau-theory posits that the closure of any type of gap, using any form of sensory input, is guided by sensing and constantly adjusting the tau of the gap. According to the theory, and contrary to what might be expected, information about the distance to obstacles or the landing surface, for example, and about the speed and deceleration of approach, are not necessary for precise control of landing or stopping. Analysis is presented that supports the importance of tau-coupling in flight control. Results from simulation trials conducted at DERA and at The University of Liverpool demonstrate the considerable power of what we describe as tau-guides, that lead the pilot to adopt a prospective flight control strategy.
Journal of the American Helicopter Society 01/2003; 48(2):108-119.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: How do questions concerning consciousness and phenomenal experience relate to, or interface with, questions concerning plans, knowledge and intentions? At least in the case of visual experience the relation, we shall argue, is tight. Visual perceptual experience, we shall argue, is fixed by an agent’s direct unmediated knowledge concerning her poise (or apparent poise) over a currently enabled action space. An action space, in this specific sense, is to be understood not as a fine-grained matrix of possibilities for bodily movement, but as a matrix of possibilities for pursuing and accomplishing one’s intentional actions, goals and projects. If this is correct, the links between planning, intention and perceptual experience are tight, while (contrary to some recent accounts invoking the notion of ‘sensorimotor expectations’) the links between embodied activity and perceptual experience, though real, are indirect. What matters is not bodily activity itself, but our practical knowledge (which need not be verbalized or in any way explicit) of our own possibilities for action. Such knowledge, selected, shaped and filtered by the grid of plans, goals, and intentions, plays, we argue, a constitutive role in explaining the content and character of visual perceptual experience.