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Investigating the Complexity of Transitioning Separation Assurance Tools into NextGen Air Traffic Control   (2013)
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In a study, that introduced ground-based separation assurance automation through a series of envisioned transitional phases of concept maturity, it was found that subjective responses to scales of workload, situation awareness, and acceptability in a post run questionnaire revealed as-predicted results for three of the four study conditions but not for the third, Moderate condition. The trend continued for losses of separation (LOS) where the number of LOS events were far greater than expected in the Moderate condition. To offer an account of why the Moderate condition was perceived to be more difficult to manage than predicted, researchers examined the increase in amount and complexity of traffic, increase in communication load, and increased complexities as a result of the simulation's mix of aircraft equipage. Further analysis compared the tools presented through the phases, finding that controllers took advantage of the informational properties of the tools presented but shied away from using their decision support capabilities. Taking into account similar findings from other studies, it is suggested that the Moderate condition represented the first step into a "shared control" environment, which requires the controller to use the automation as a decision making partner rather than just a provider of information. Viewed in this light, the combination of tools offered in the Moderate condition was reviewed and some tradeoffs that may offset the identified complexities were suggested.
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Air, Assurance, Complexity, Investigating, NextGen, Separation, Tools, Traffic Control, Transitioning
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32nd Digital Avionics Systems Conference, 6-10 october 2013, Syracuse, New York
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Last Updated: August 15, 2019