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Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Human Computer Interaction, Virtual Reality Applications Center

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Frontiers in Neuroscience






This paper presents an adaptive system intended to address workload imbalances between pilots in future flight decks. Team performance can be maximized when task demands are balanced within crew capabilities and resources. Good communication skills enable teams to adapt to changes in workload, and include the balancing of workload between team members This work addresses human factors priorities in the aviation domain with the goal to develop concepts that balance operator workload, support future operator roles and responsibilities, and support new task requirements, while allowing operators to focus on the most safety critical tasks. A traditional closed-loop adaptive system includes the decision logic to turn automated adaptations on and off. This work takes a novel approach of replacing the decision logic, normally performed by the automation, with human decisions. The Crew Workload Manager (CWLM) was developed to objectively display the workload between pilots and recommend task sharing; it is then the pilots who “close the loop” by deciding how to best mitigate unbalanced workload. The workload was manipulated by the Shared Aviation Task Battery (SAT-B), which was developed to provide opportunities for pilots to mitigate imbalances in workload between crew members. Participants were put in situations of high and low workload (i.e., workload was manipulated as opposed to being measured), the workload was then displayed to pilots, and pilots were allowed to decide how to mitigate the situation. An evaluation was performed that utilized the SAT-B to manipulate workload and create workload imbalances. Overall, the CWLM reduced the time spent in unbalanced workload and improved the crew coordination in task sharing while not negatively impacting concurrent task performance. Balancing workload has the potential to improve crew resource management and task performance over time, and reduce errors and fatigue. Paired with a real-time workload measurement system, the CWLM could help teams manage their own task load distribution.


This is an article from Frontiers in Neuroscience 11 (2017): 144, doi:10.3389/fnins.2017.00144. Posted with permission.


This document is protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. It is reproduced with permission. It is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) license.

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