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Revision as of 08:45, 25 April 2008

Article Information
Category: Human Factors Human Factors
Content source: Skybrary Skybrary
Content control: Eurocontrol Eurocontrol

Solutions for Human Automation Partnerships in European ATM

Description

The EUROCONTROL SHAPE project assessed the impact of new automation on the human operator. The project has yielded a set of questionnaires which assess the impact of automation on workload, situational awareness, teamwork and trust.

SHAPE deals with a range of issues raised by the increasing automation in European Air Traffic Management (ATM). Automation can bring success or failure, depending on whether it suits the controllers’ requirements. Experience in the introduction of automation into cockpits has shown that if Human Factors are not properly considered, ‘automation-assisted failures’ may be the end result. Seven main issues have been identified that need to be addressed to achieve a successful implementation of automation:

  • Trust:

The use of automated tools will depend on the controllers' trust. Trust is a result of many factors such as reliability of the system and transparency of the functions. For a competent use of a tool, neither mistrust nor overtrust is desirable.

  • Situation Awareness (SA):

By changing the allocation of tasks between the human and the machine, automation is likely to have an impact on controllers’ SA. Therefore, it is important to ensure that an automated tool does not substantially impair the controllers’ SA.

  • Teamwork:

The use of new automation can change teamwork and team interaction. This refers, among others, to the allocation of tasks between team members and the way information between team members is exchanged.

  • Changes in skill requirements:

Automation can lead to both skill degradation and the need for new skills. In order to support a successful implementation of new automation, changes in skill requirements need to be analysed. This includes new skills and training needs on the one hand and obsolete skills and potential for skill degradation one the other.

  • Recovery from system failure:

Automation is able to eliminate certain human errors when functioning correctly. However, if automation fails, the human needs to diagnose and mitigate the effect of system failure. Thus, there is a need to consider how the controller will ensure safe recovery should system failures occur within an automated system.

  • Workload:

Automation usually aims at reducing workload, by assigning tasks to the machine that were previously carried out by the human. However, automation can also yield new demands, in particular with respect to cognitive and perceptual activity. Therefore, it needs to be ensured that the new automation does not increase controllers’ workload.

  • Ageing: The age of controllers can be a factor that affects the extent to which the implementation of automation is successful. When designing and implementing a tool, it needs to be ensured that it is equally suitable and acceptable for controllers of different age groups.

The SHAPE questionnaires

The SHAPE questionnaires support the empirical evaluation of new automation in ATM. The structure and content of the SHAPE questionnaires was revised in 2007 to enhance the usability of the questionnaires, improve psychometric properties and provide better guidance on data analysis.

The following questionnaires are available:

  • Assessing the Impact of Automation on Mental Workload (AIM)
  • SHAPE Teamwork Questionnaire (STQ)
  • Situational Awareness for SHAPE (SASHA)
  • SHAPE Automation Trust Index (SATI)

The SHAPE questionnaires are easy to administer, pose minimal demands on the participants, and allow for a simple data analysis. For some of the questionnaires, short and long versions are available. The SHAPE questionnaires can be applied both in simulations and in operational trials.

Further Reading

For further information on SHAPE visit: http://www.eurocontrol.int/humanfactors/public/standard_page/SHAPE.html