Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Impact of spatial orientation ability on air traffic conflict detection in a simulated free route airspace environment
Authors: Zhong, Jimmy Y.
Goh, Sim Kuan
Woo, Chuan Jie
Alam, Sameer 
Keywords: Engineering::Aeronautical engineering::Air navigation
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Zhong, J. Y., Goh, S. K., Woo, C. J. & Alam, S. (2022). Impact of spatial orientation ability on air traffic conflict detection in a simulated free route airspace environment. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 16, 739866-.
Journal: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 
Abstract: In the selection of job candidates who have the mental ability to become professional ATCOs, psychometric testing has been a ubiquitous activity in the ATM domain. To contribute to psychometric research in the ATM domain, we investigated the extent to which spatial orientation ability (SOA), as conceptualized in the spatial cognition and navigation literature, predicted air traffic conflict detection performance in a simulated free route airspace (FRA) environment. The implementation of free route airspace (FRA) over the past few years, notably in Europe, have facilitated air traffic services by giving greater flexibility to aviation operators in planning and choosing preferred air routes that can lead to quicker arrivals. FRA offers enhanced system safety and efficiency, but these benefits can be outweighed by the introduction of air traffic conflicts that are geometrically more complex. Such conflicts can arise from increased number and distribution of conflict points, as well as from elevated uncertainty in aircraft maneuvering (for instance, during heading changes). Overall, these issues will make conflict detection more challenging for air traffic controllers (ATCOs). Consequently, there is a need to select ATCOs with suitably high levels of spatial orientation ability (SOA) to ensure flight safety under FRA implementation. In this study, we tested 20 participants who are eligible for ATCO job application, and found that response time-based performance on a newly developed, open access, computerized spatial orientation test (SOT) predicted time to loss of minimum separation (tLMS) performance on an air traffic conflict detection task (AT-CDT) we designed. We found this predictive relationship to be significant to a moderately large extent under scenarios with high air traffic density (raw regression coefficient = 0.58). Moreover, we demonstrated our AT-CDT as a valid test in terms of eliciting well-known mental workload and spatial learning effects. We explained these findings in light of similar or overlapping mental processes that were most likely activated optimally under task conditions featuring approximately equal numbers of outcome-relevant stimuli. We conclude by discussing the further application of the SOT to the selection of prospective ATCOs who can demonstrate high levels of conflict detection performance in FRA during training simulations.
ISSN: 1662-5161
DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2022.739866
Schools: School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 
Research Centres: Air Traffic Management Research Institute 
Rights: © 2022 Zhong, Goh, Woo and Alam. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:ATMRI Journal Articles
MAE Journal Articles

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
fnhum-16-739866.pdf2.58 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail

Citations 50

Updated on Sep 24, 2023

Web of ScienceTM
Citations 50

Updated on Sep 29, 2023

Page view(s)

Updated on Sep 28, 2023


Updated on Sep 28, 2023

Google ScholarTM




Items in DR-NTU are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.