Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed new modifications for technology that helps pilots of small aircraft avoid midair collisions. The modified tools significantly improved pilot response times in making decisions to avert crashes.
At issue are “cockpit displays of traffic information” (CDTIs). These are GPS displays used by private pilots to track other aircraft in their vicinity. However, pilots often focus on the closest aircraft on the display – a habit that can pose a significant hazard.
If the pilot of Plane A sees two planes on the CDTI, he’s more likely to focus on the closest aircraft (Plane B). But if the more distant plane (Plane C) is moving at high speed, it could cross his path before Plane B does. Not paying enough attention to Plane C increases risk of a midair collision.
“Our goal was to modify a CDTI to help pilots recognize which other planes pose the greatest risk,” says Carl Pankok, lead author of a study on the work and a Ph.D. student in the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at NC State. “And it worked.”
Researchers modified the CDTI so that the plane that would cross a pilot’s path first either began blinking or was colored yellow.
The researchers tested the modified CDTI in a flight simulator with a panel of licensed recreational pilots. The research team compared the pilots’ response times and decision-making accuracy when using the modified and unmodified displays.
“These pilots were already pretty good, but the modified CDTIs made them better,” Pankok says. “Their percentage of ‘correct’ decisions – minimizing risk – jumped from 88 percent to 96 percent. And their response times in scenarios where the farther aircraft was the higher-risk aircraft were cut in half; from 7.2 seconds to 3.7 seconds for blinking CDTIs, and to 4 seconds for yellow CDTIs.
“We’re not trying to make money off this,” Pankok says. “We’re hoping that CDTI manufacturers can incorporate these changes and possibly save lives.”
The paper, “Cockpit Displays of Traffic Information and Pilot Bias in Time-to-Contact Judgments,” is published in the June issue of Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. Senior author of the paper is Dr. David Kaber, a professor in the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at NC State. The work was supported by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health under grant No.2 T42 OH008673-08.
Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.
“Cockpit Displays of Traffic Information and Pilot Bias in Time-to-Contact Judgments”
Authors: Carl Pankok, Jr. and David B. Kaber, North Carolina State University
Published: June 2014, Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine
Abstract: Introduction: Pilots are susceptible to over-reliance on distance when making relative time-to-contact (TTC) judgments of surrounding intruders, referred to as “the distance bias.” We tested the effect of adding perceptual cues and an information feature to cockpit displays of traffic information to mitigate this bias. Method: Fourteen general aviation pilots participated in a simulated flight scenario and were asked to make relative TTC judgments. Three levels of perceptual cue (blinking, color-change, and no-cue) were crossed with two levels of velocity data tag (present and absent) with identification of the highest risk intruder as a response. Results: Perceptual cues were associated with more accurate high-risk intruder selection (color=95.95% correct, blinking= 95.98%, no-cue=87.89%), decreased response time (color=3.68 sec, blinking= 3.19 sec no-cue=6.08 sec), reduced visual attention demand (color=57% of attention, blinking= 58%, no-cue=62%), lower workload ratings (color=28.38/100, blinking= 29.66/100, no-cue=48.91/100), and higher performance confidence ratings (color=83.92/100, blinking=82.71/100, no-cue=58.85/100) than the no-cue displays. There was no difference between blinking and color cue displays. The data tag was associated with lower response times (present=4.13 sec, absent=4.50 sec) and higher confidence ratings (present=78.69/100, absent=71.63/100) than displays without. Displays including the blinking cue, color-change cue, and data tag were preferred over displays that did not include these features (color=8 pilots, blinking=6, no-cue=0). Discussion: The added display features were effective in mitigating the effect of the distance bias on pilot performance measures and received favorable subjective ratings.
Matt Shipman | Eurek Alert!
Electric hybrid bus line in Stockholm uses Siemens charging system
17.03.2015 | Siemens AG
LOGWERT adds to Heilbronn's status as a research hub
10.03.2015 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...
The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.
As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...
When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.
The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe.
Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been...
Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.
From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...
25.03.2015 | Event News
19.03.2015 | Event News
17.03.2015 | Event News
27.03.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
27.03.2015 | Materials Sciences
27.03.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation