Human Factor Automation in Aviation
Human error has been recognized as a principal contributor to several commercial airplane hull-loss accidents. Human error is one of the issues that need attention in the aviation industry. Trained Boeing human factors working alongside engineers, pilots, and mechanics have tried to integrate modern knowledge regarding the interface between human performance and commercial airplanes. This process enhances aviation operators ‘advance safety and effectiveness in their daily operations.”Human factors” has become common because the commercial aviation sector has recognized that human error, far from the mechanical failure, is the main cause of aviation accidents. Regardless of rapid achievements in technology, humans are tasked with ensuring the accomplishment and wellbeing of the aviation industry. The question of automation entails the use of control systems and information technologies to decrease the need for human effort in the production of goods and services. The automation process has been incorporated in the aviation industry to enhance the human factor as a way of responding to initial claims that most accidents in aviation are caused by human error. Nonetheless, human factor automation remains an issue in automation.
In the aviation industry, automation is a system of controlling apparatus in a process supported by electronic or mechanical devices that substitutes humans in sensing, decision-making, and planned output (Chialastri, 2012). Automation operates under information gathering that is connected to the sensing and registration of contribution data. These processes are equal to the first human information dispensation phase, underneath human sensory processes. Human factor automation in the aviation industry plays a fundamental role. Its presence on airplanes board is all-encompassing and extremely handy in enhancing the pilots’ performance and improving safety (Lee & Seppelt, 2009). However, concerns have been raised in the recent past that confirms pilots’ automation abuse, which relies on several factors such as human performance, abilities, and restraints as well as meager ergonomics. Various scholars in aviation suppose that the main issue in the industry is pilot/computer interface. The main problem causing substantial disquiet entails the explosion of control methods in the newest automation systems. It occurs mostly when the autopilot controls the airplane, and the pilot crew examines the performance of the autopilot and the airplane. Regrettably, the training that pilots undergo in this area has frequently been insufficient; hence, it has undermined the sensitivity of aviation competency.
Enhancement in automation and pilot monitoring of the automated systems that are oblique has human factor consequences. Further automation will still have negative implications on the efficiency of pilot monitoring because humans can examine rare incidents. Moreover, monitoring can be a mind-numbing work, particularly for a long tow flight. In some instances, pilots have sought to eradicate some parts of the automation and use the remaining facets; however, they are incapable of doing so because ‘all or nothing’ is the only option. This is most likely computer indoctrination concernsince computer programmers did not understand the particulars of aircraft operation in the actual world, as several vertical approaches are entailed. Consequently, pilots should be part of the automation blueprint (Orlady & Orlady, 1991).
Another concern is the nearly absolute automation that enhances the pilot’s complacency and an overreliance upon automation. The main purpose of automation in aviation is to enhance safety (Dehais et al., 2005).The pilot relies on automated systems to give a proper response during unusual operations. Besides, the flight crews also depend on the automation during normal checks that are intrinsic in good manual operations that are at times ignored (Orlady & Orlady, 1991). This concern in the human factor automation, therefore, requires several inputs integrated into the automation systems. Firstly, a human operator must be integrated for effective command regardless of whether the pilot is required to control the aircraft directly or through handling other human or machine resources that are applied.
Another fundamental concern in the human factor automation is the automation and the’ error’ dilemma. In most cases, an aircraft designer encounters a dilemma when both human and the automated machine make errors. This implies that neither the human factor nor the device is consistent in connection to decreased misfortunes in air transport. Therefore, when addressing the concern of automation, it is not correct to suppose that fault is a separate concern, as it is likely that automation in itself does make some errors possible because it is not ideal. If both an increase in automation and the computers that manage the automation make errors, the only resource that can handle such a concern is the human factor, the pilot, and air traffic controller. Therefore, the human factor is the definitive back up.
Although automation of human factor in the aviation industry is considered a way of reducing training requirements and aviation accidents, there are still several concerns to the entire system. Automation needs to enhance and not substitute the human factor. In the training process, for instance, pilots and the whole air crew need to add the automation skills on the already existing human skills because the ultimate controllers of aircraft are human beings.
Chialastri, A. (2012). Automation in aviation. Automation. InTech.
In this article, the author shows why, when and how automation has been incorporated in the aviation industry. The author also explicates the different issues or problems that arise from the different ways of operations as well as the likely countermeasures to limit error interaction between human and machines.
Dehais, F., Peysakhovich, V., Scannella, S., Fongue, J., & Gateau, T. (2015, April). Automation surprise in aviation: Real-time solutions. Proceedings of the 33rd annual ACM conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2525-2534). ACM.
In this article, the authors’ talks about the conflicts between the pilot and the automation, particularly when pilots notice but do not understand them, which cause automation surprise” situations. These situations endanger flight safety. After undertaking an experiment, the authors in the results discovered that this conflict is because of the participant’s focus aptitude s that emanates from extreme and ineffective visual search patterns.
Lee, J. D., & Seppelt, B. D. (2009). Human factors in automation design. Springer handbook of automation (pp. 417-436). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
In this article, the authors emphasizes on the need for designers involve human factors in any form of automation they create. In most cases, designers believe that automation is the best way to enhance efficiency; however, it has led to several calamities. According to the authors, automation changes the way operators receive and react to feedback. The article describes different types of automation that place different demands on the operators with future challenges that face automation.
Orlady, H. & Orlady, L. (1999). Human Factors in Multi-Crew Flight Operations. Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
In this book, the author acknowledged the ongoing technological and teamwork development in the aviation industry. The book underpins the significance of mastering the application and efficient implementation of leading edge human factors knowledge. The book is written from the viewpoint of the knowledgeable who offers a vibrant, realistic context for the approval of Human Factors. The book is important source of information for growth and future expansion of human factors in aviation.
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