Modeling the Air Traffic Controller's Cognitive Projection Process
Author(s)Davison Reynolds, Hayley J
Cognitive projection enables the operator of a supervisory control system, such as air traffic control, to use predicted future behavior of the system to make decisions about if and how to control the system. New procedures and technologies being implemented in the air traffic control system innately affect the information used for projection and the type of projection required from the controller. Because cognitive projection is not well-understood, launching these projection-impacting technologies and procedures could result in the reluctance of the air traffic controllers to accept these advancements or limit the system performance. A Projection Process Model and a Projection Error Concept were proposed to describe the controller’s projection process and the contextual system influences on the projection process. The two primary influences on the projection process were the information/display system and task-based projection requirements. A mismatch between the information/display system states and the task-based projection requirements was described through a cognitive transform concept. The projection process itself is composed of the state mental model and the time into the future over which the projection is made. Hypotheses based on the assumptions of the Projection Process Model and Projection Error Concept were probed through an experiment using an ATC task paradigm. Results were consistent with the proposed models. They suggested that the controllers were able to incorporate higher-level dynamics into the state mental models used for projection and that the quality of the state mental model used was marginally influenced by the error tolerance required in the task. The application of the Projection Process Model and Projection Error Concept was then illustrated through the analysis of the impact on projection from two ATC domain examples of technology and procedure implementation. The Constant Descent Approach Procedure in the TRACON impacted the intent, projection timespan, and abstractions used in the mental model of the controllers. The Oceanic ATC surveillance, communication and workstation improvements resulted in an impact on the states to be projected, intent, projection timespan, and human/automation projection responsibility. Suggestions for improved transition for the projection process were then provided based on the analysis.
Human Factors, Air Traffic Control