1992-10-01

Data, Decisions, and Cockpit Technology 922049

During the past two decades, avionics advances have brought increasingly sophisticated technology into the cockpit. These advances were intended to provide benefits in both operating economics and safety. While many of the economic rewards have been realized, the safety advantages have yet to be proved conclusively. Some are concerned that today's automated systems may actually have negative effects on safety. The effectiveness of today's automation is largely a result of rapidly improving design of modern avionics systems. Where avionics design must make tradeoffs, or when designs prove to be less than optimum, flight crew training is called upon to take up the slack. Where both designer and trainer fail, safety is left to the crew and their airmanship skills. Researchers and industry experts have expressed the need for a high level philosophy to guide the development of effective cockpit automation. As these philosophies emerge, they agree on the need for the flight crew to be at the center of the operational loop. This paper presents an operational philosophy proposing the design of automated systems whose capabilities are organized into “levels-of-service” that may be “ordered” by the crew. Service-based training would encourage the crew to “purchase” required automation services using workload as a medium of exchange, with the goal of “earning a profit” from the transaction.

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