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Shifts in Air Traffic Controllers' Situation Awareness during High Altitude Mixed Equipage Operations  (2012)
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Studies of future airspace design often predict that automated tools will be available to assist the controller and sometimes complete tasks independently of controller intervention. How this redistribution of functions will change the role of the controller needs to be considered, as does its impact on the controller's awareness of aircraft movement in their sector. In a study of high altitude operations in future airspace where aircraft were equipped with different levels of data communications capabilities, it was found that about half of the participants positively attributed the contribution of the automation as assisting their own level of situation awareness (SA) – and hence perceived themselves as being in a better position in terms of SA under more automated / equipped conditions. Whereas the other half of the participants, who did not consider the automation to assist their situation awareness, perceived themselves as having higher SA under conditions that were closer to the current day. With increased reliance on automation and higher expected traffic volume in the future, controllers will need to rethink what constitutes as their SA since they will no longer be able to have a complete awareness of their airspace as they do now. Insights into new SA strategies that can factor automation’s contribution and integrate it into controllers’ awareness could be helpful in future training and tool design.
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Air, Altitude, Awareness, Controllers, during, Equipage, High, Mixed, Operations, Shifts, Situation, Traffic
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56th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Boston, MA. October
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Jessica Nowinski
Last Updated: August 15, 2019