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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  2. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flight paths have been shown to communicate meaning to human observers, similar to human gestural communication. This paper presents the results of a UAV gesture perception study designed to assess how observer viewpoint perspective may impact how humans perceive the shape of UAV gestural motion. Robot gesture designers have demonstrated that robots can indeed communicate meaning through gesture; however, many of these results are limited to an idealized range of viewer perspectives and do not consider how the perception of a robot gesture may suffer from obfuscation or self-occlusion from some viewpoints. This paper presents the results of three online user-studies that examine participants' ability to accurately perceive the intended shape of two-dimensional UAV gestures from varying viewer perspectives. We used a logistic regression model to characterize participant gesture classification accuracy, demonstrating that viewer perspective does impact how participants perceive the shape of UAV gestures. Our results yielded a viewpoint angle threshold from beyond which participants were able to assess the intended shape of a gesture's motion with 90% accuracy. We also introduce a perceptibility score to capture user confidence, time to decision, and accuracy in labeling and to understand how differences in flight paths impact perception across viewpoints. These findings will enable UAV gesture systems that, with a high degree of confidence, ensure gesture motions can be accurately perceived by human observers. 
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