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MINIMA - MItigating Negative Impacts of Monitoring high levels of Automation

9 - Industry, innovation and infrastructure; Research Projects; 2016; 2017; 2018

Assigning tasks, formerly executed by human operators, to automation can increase the performance in many aspects
of ATM. However, the absence of automation errors can often not be guaranteed. Consequently a human operator is
required to monitor the automation and to intervene in the rare cases of automation errors. It has been shown that this
monitoring role of human operators results in negative effects like lack of attention, loss of situation awareness and –
in the long term – skill degradation.
This project will develop solutions to mitigate these effects. As an example a highly automated arrival management
task in which the aircraft follow their predefined 4D-trajectories will be investigated. As neither the automatic
detection and resolution of all conflicts nor the ability of all aircraft to follow their trajectories with the required
precision can be guaranteed all the time, a human operator is needed to monitor and handle situations in which
automation fails.
New human-automation interaction design concepts for this task will be developed from scratch in three steps in this
project: First, the task environment will be analyzed to identify all the necessary tasks that can be assigned either to
the human operator or the automation. Secondly, concept for different solutions will be developed considering the
human performance envelope. This includes adaptive or adaptable automation with dynamic task distributions, tools
to direct the operator attention, and suitable human-machine interfaces. In a third step, different human-automation
design concepts will be evaluated.
Identifying how to apply higher automation to complex systems while mitigating the negative effects of monitoring
tasks will allow benefiting from performance increases of higher levels of automation while keeping the human
operator performance on a high level to ensure safe operations.

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