Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Engineers Find Way to Lower Risk of Midair Collisions for Small Aircraft

20.05.2014

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.


A modified screen display helps pilots identify which plane poses the greatest risk to their flight path. Image: Carl Pankok.

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.

-shipman-

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!
Further information:
http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/pankok-flight-2014/

Further reports about: Aircraft Aviation Cockpit Department Displays Engineering Engineers Medicine Pilot Space TTC Traffic perceptual

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht First Siemens-built Thameslink train arrives in London
31.07.2015 | Siemens AG

nachricht University of Stuttgart draws up guides for medium-sized enterprises
22.06.2015 | Universität Stuttgart

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum Matter Stuck in Unrest

Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.

What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...

Im Focus: On the crest of the wave: Electronics on a time scale shorter than a cycle of light

Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.

The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...

Im Focus: Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record

Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers

Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.

Im Focus: Unlocking the rice immune system

Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight

A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...

Im Focus: Smarter window materials can control light and energy

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.

By allowing indoor occupants to more precisely control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, the new materials could significantly reduce costs for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Euro Bio-inspired - International Conference and Exhibition on Bio-inspired Materials

23.07.2015 | Event News

Clash of Realities – International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

10.07.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tool making and additive technology exhibition: Fraunhofer IPT at Formnext

31.07.2015 | Trade Fair News

First Siemens-built Thameslink train arrives in London

31.07.2015 | Transportation and Logistics

California 'rain debt' equal to average full year of precipitation

31.07.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>