Cockpit Automation and Mode Confusion: The Use of Auditory Inputs for Error Mitigation
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The application of computer technology in modern cockpits has resulted in sophisticated automation that has created situations of mode confusion where the pilot is uncertain about the status or behavior of cockpit automation. Based on current levels of cockpit automation, classifications of mode confusion, and clinical knowledge concerning human cognitive and attentive processes, could an audible attention step help mitigate unrecognized mode error The Software-Hardware-Environment-Liveware model forms a framework for the analysis of government and academic research concerning pilot automation experiences and use, cognitive models, information and decision processing, and the auditory attention channel. Pilot experiences and several aircraft accidents suggest that mode error is both common and potentially dangerous enough to warrant attempts at mitigation. Studies indicate that the monitoring requirement levied by automation lowers pilot system situational awareness without providing sufficient or proper feedback. Operators can also suffer from cognitive lockup and task channeling, which makes attention diversion difficult. An auditory input might provide an effective attention step if it demands appropriate attention, provides situation reporting, and offers problem guidance. These requirements might be fulfilled if the content is predictive, informational, localized, properly timed, and the theories of effective auditory characteristics proposed by Human Factors research are considered.
- Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems