Estimating pilots’ cognitive load from ocular parameters through simulation and in-flight studies

  • Mohan Dilli Babu
  • D. V. JeevithaShree
  • Gowdham Prabhakar
  • Kamal Preet Singh Saluja
  • Abhay Pashilkar
  • Pradipta Biswas Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
Keywords: Cognitive Load, Eye Gaze Tracking, Aviation Safety, Pupil Dilation, Fixation, Saccades


Eye tracking is the process of measuring either the point of gaze (where one is looking) or the motion of an eye relative to the head. This paper investigated use of eye gaze trackers in military aviation environment to automatically estimate pilot’s cognitive load from ocular parameters. We used a fixed base variable stability flight simulator with longitudinal tracking task and collected data from 14 military pilots. In a second study, we undertook three test flights with a BAES Hawk Trainer aircraft doing air to ground attack training missions and constant G level turn maneuvers up to +5G. Our study found that ocular parameters like rate of fixation is significantly different in different flying conditions and significantly correlate with altitude gradient during air to ground dive training task, normal load factor (G) of the aircraft during constant G level turn maneuvers and pilot’s control inceptor and tracking error in simulation tasks. Results from our studies can be used for real time estimation of pilots’ cognitive load, providing suitable warnings and alerts to the pilot in cockpit and training of military pilots on cognitive load management during operational missions.

Author Biography

Pradipta Biswas, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

Pradipta Biswas is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing of Indian Institute of Science. Earlier he was a Senior Research Associate at Engineering Department, Research Fellow at Wolfson College and Research Associate at Trinity Hall of  University of Cambridge. I completed PhD in Computer Science at the Rainbow Group of University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and Trinity College in 2010 and was awarded a Gates-Cambridge Scholarship in 2006. His research focuses on user modelling and multimodal human-machine interaction for aviation and automotive environments and for assistive technology. He set up and lead the Interaction Design Lab at CPDM, IISc

How to Cite
Babu, M. D., JeevithaShree, D. V., Prabhakar, G., Saluja, K. P. S., Pashilkar, A., & Biswas, P. (2019). Estimating pilots’ cognitive load from ocular parameters through simulation and in-flight studies. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 12(3).