The goal of this research was to define a measure of situation awareness (SA) in an air traffic control (ATC) task and to investigate the effect of adaptive automation (AA) of various information processing functions on SA. An ATC simulation was used that was capable of presenting four different modes of control, including information acquisition, information analysis, decision making and action implementation automation, and a manual mode. Eight subjects completed two trials under each mode of control. Operator workload, assessed using a secondary task, was used to trigger automation of the primary ATC task. The SA measure was an adaptation of the Situation Awareness Global Assessment Technique (SAGAT), involving cueing of aircraft positions as well as objective weighting of the relevance of aircraft to controllers for queries. The SA response measure revealed a significant effect of AA on subject perception and overall SA, with superior SA under the information acquisition mode of automation. ATC performance was significantly superior (p<0.05) when automation was applied to lower-order sensory processing functions, including information acquisition and action implementation, as compared to higher-order functions, specifically information analysis. During manual control periods as part of AA trials, ATC performance was significantly superior when following automation of information acquisition and information analysis functions. Secondary task performance was significantly worse under information analysis and decision making automation.
Perry, C. M.,
& Kaber, D. B.
(2005). Measurement of Situation Awareness Effects of Adaptive Automation of Air Traffic Control Information Processing Functions. 2005 International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 566-571.