Benefits of Imperfect Conflict Resolution Advisory Aids for Future Air Traffic Control
Wickens, Christopher D.
Date of Issue2016
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the human–automation interaction issues and the interacting factors in the context of conflict detection and resolution advisory (CRA) systems. Background: The issues of imperfect automation in air traffic control (ATC) have been well documented in previous studies, particularly in conflict-alerting systems. The extent to which the prior findings can be applied to an integrated conflict detection and resolution system in future ATC remains unknown. Method: Twenty-four participants were evenly divided into two groups corresponding to a medium– and a high–traffic density condition, respectively. In each traffic density condition, participants were instructed to perform simulated ATC tasks under four automation conditions, including reliable, unreliable with short time allowance to secondary conflict (TAS), unreliable with long TAS, and manual conditions. Dependent variables accounted for conflict resolution performance, workload, situation awareness, and trust in and dependence on the CRA aid, respectively. Results: Imposing the CRA automation did increase performance and reduce workload as compared with manual performance. The CRA aid did not decrease situation awareness. The benefits of the CRA aid were manifest even when it was imperfectly reliable and were apparent across traffic loads. In the unreliable blocks, trust in the CRA aid was degraded but dependence was not influenced, yet the performance was not adversely affected. Conclusion: The use of CRA aid would benefit ATC operations across traffic densities. Application: CRA aid offers benefits across traffic densities, regardless of its imperfection, as long as its reliability level is set above the threshold of assistance, suggesting its application for future ATC.
© 2016 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Human Factors, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018720816655941].