Academia contributes to Aviation Safety with studies about Pilot/Machine interface in Cockpit Automation

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ARTICLE: Staying on task in the automated cockpit


The record is replete with evidence that as cockpit automation has increased pilot attention has decreased , but the literature on what should be done to regain the focus of the crew is deficient. The study reported in this article analyzed what the captain and co-pilot are thinking during their duties and made the following comment:

“The pilots reported an increase in big-picture flight-related thoughts when using higher levels of automation, but when the flight was progressing according to plan and pilots were not interacting with the automation, their thoughts were more likely to wander.”

And they added the following cogent analysis:

“We need to sort out the strengths and weaknesses of both humans and computers and think of work environments that combine and exploit the best features of both to keep humans meaningfully engaged in their work.”

Having pointed to the precise nature of the problem, the authors cite the work of other researchers who have delved into that subject in an article titled “‘Automation addiction,’ other airline flight issues could be mitigated by better user interface”. The thesis of that scholarly piece is that the designer of the automation systems should create tasks which keep the pilots engaged. Boeing, Airbus, et al. we look forward to how you address the nettlesome problem.

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