Previous simulation studies have shown that, without the assistance of automation, controllers have difficulty in timely detection and resolution of aircraft-to-aircraft conflicts under future air traffic management concepts such as Free Flight (Galster et al., 2001; Metzger & Parasuraman, in press). However, how automated information on potential conflicts should be displayed to the controller is not well understood. In the present study, we reasoned that automation that was integrated with the primary radar display would be effective in enhancing conflict detetction. We also manipulated display modality so that the automation provided information to the controller using simple visual, enhanced visual, or visual+auditory (multi-modal) displays. It was expected that under high traffic load, the associated requirement for communication by datalink could divert visual attention from the radar, thus potentially impairing conflict detection performance and necessitating automated assistance. We hypothesized that multi-modal feedback could lead to earlier conflict detection than purely visual feedback by better guiding visual attention. A performance benefit was also expected for the enhanced visual aid by providing more transparency regarding conflict prediction and reducing the requirement for visual search.
& Metzger, U.
(2005). Integrated Automation Enhances Air Traffic Controller Conflict Detection Performance Under Free Flight. 2005 International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 553-553.