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Toward Automated Air Traffic Control-Investigating a Fundamental Paradigm Shift in Human/Systems Interaction  (2012)
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Predicted air traffic increases over the next 25 years may create a significant capacity problem that the United States' National Airspace System will be unable to accommodate. The concept of introducing automated separation assurance was proposed to help solve this problem. However, the introduction of such a concept involves a fundamental paradigm shift in which automation is allowed to perform safety-critical tasks that today are strictly the air traffic controllers' domain. Moving toward automated air traffic control, therefore, requires a careful and thorough investigation. As part of an ongoing series, three human-in-the-loop simulation studies were conducted at the NASA Ames Research Center with the overarching goal of determining whether the automated separation assurance concept can be integrated into air traffic control operations in an acceptable and safe manner. These studies investigated a range of issues including the proper levels of automation for given capacity targets, off-nominal operations from both air and ground perspectives, and sustained near-full mission operations with many tasks allocated to the automation in the presence of convective weather and scheduling constraints. Overall, it was found that the concept has the potential to solve the envisioned airspace capacity problem. The automation was largely effective and robust, and the function allocation of tasks between controllers and automation was generally acceptable. However, feedback and results also showed that further technological development is necessary to improve trajectory prediction and conflict detection accuracy. The need for further procedural development to govern controller/automation and air/ground interactions was also highlighted. These and other considerations are addressed as the automated separation assurance concept is further tested and pursued through subsequent studies
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Air, Assurance, Automated, Control, Fundamental, Human, Interaction, Investigating, Paradigm, Separation, Shift, Systems, Toward, Traffic
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International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 28:2, 77-98, Special Issue on NextGen
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Joey Mercer
Last Updated: August 15, 2019