ADAHR: Assessment of Degree of Automation on Human Roles.


CRIDA: Centro de Referencia I+D de ATM.

DLR: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft – und Raumfahrt.

NLR: Nationaal Lucht – en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium.


This project is concerned with research into high levels of automation, up to and including full automation, and its impact in all possible actors. The proposed project will assess the human factors aspects in the future operational environment where automation has reached a high level of implementation.

To perform this assessment, the ATM-innovative validation technique so called “Gaming” will be applied. Gaming techniques are essentially human-in-the-loop activities.

As an outcome of the Gaming Exercises scenarios a better definition of the different roles and responsibilities will be performed and recommendations regarding transition problems and when to deploy the automation will be proposed.


Introduction and Problem Statement




Among others, one of the key SESAR focus is the role of the human and their relation with advanced automation tools to work safely, with an appropriate workload and with a high level of situation awareness. These main characteristics are also one of the key features of this project.

SESAR time horizon after 2020 will be the initial scope of ADAHR. Taking as a baseline the central human roles defined by SESAR, relations between them and the new automated tools being  developed are going to be assessed at the beginning of project. The initial assumptions are based on the SESAR definitions of human roles and the expected technical capabilities of automation. After this initial consideration new levels of automation are assumed and new roles and responsibilities of human operators will be defined, taking into account a future ATM scenario far beyond 2020 time horizon. Human behaviour and strategic position and response of stakeholders will be studied in the same local environment with two different levels of automation.

This research proposed by ADAHR is clearly included within the scope of WP E, by bringing new solutions that will provide benefit for both short and long term. For short term, adding value to the existing SESAR work by identifying new responsibilities and gaps in the evolution of human roles defined in SESAR by analysing the interaction with the new automation levels in the CNS/ATM system and helping defining future functionalities of new tools. And for long term, thinking beyond current SESAR timeframe, by assessing and clarifying new human roles and responsibilities as a result of the use of advanced tools with high levels of automation.

The objectives of ADAHR will be achieved by the application of methodologies and techniques such as gaming to assess futuristic functionalities and capabilities of existing ATM human operators due to the new technical developments and the advanced levels of automation on tools.


Problem statement


Automation is a necessary mean for the future ATM network. The necessary level of automation for 2020 in a SESAR environment will be studied in the SJU programme, but this level of automation will be higher in the ATM environment after SESAR. There is some knowledge regarding how automation impacts on the workload and on the performance of an actor, but there is little knowledge regarding how the same automation impacts on the interactions and situation awareness among several actors with different interests (e.g. airspace users and ANSPs). Experience (e.g. automation in cockpit) has shown that the transition to higher levels of automation has to be carefully addressed to promote the trust on the new system, (guarantying certain safety levels), and to ensure its acceptability by the human operator.

ADAHR addresses two different scenarios, one centred in the timeframe when SESAR foresees the implementation of Services Levels 4 and 5 which correspond (not directly) to automation levels 4 and 5 [Parasuraman], and a second scenario in a further timeframe after SESAR with higher levels of automation e.g. level 7.

Research questions addressed in ADAHR are:

How do different levels of automation in ATM impact human interaction?

How does automation impact on roles and responsibilities in the different environments selected?

Which automation functionalities can be brought forward in the SESAR master plan?

What requirements are needed to promote the acceptance of high levels of automation in the ATM environment?


Project objectives and expected results




The main objective of ADAHR is to assess the behaviour of different ATM human actors in a highly automated environment. This objective will be achieved through the:

  • Identification of mechanisms that enhance the trust of the human actors in automation.
  • Analysis of the impact of automation in the interaction between human actors.
  • Analysis of the impact of automation on the new roles and responsibilities foreseen by the levels of automation addressed, especially in terms on workload and situational awareness.
  • Analysis of the tools supporting the ATM human actors’ duties.


Expected results


The main result of ADAHR will be a better knowledge of human interactions in environments with high levels of automation.

Other results are to describe the role of human operators in a highly automated ATM environment, amplifying the knowledge in two different points of the road towards full ATM automation. ADAHR will provide functionalities needed in the technological systems supporting the human operators and an outline of change and transition to these scenarios.

The principal results expected from ADAHR are:

  • A better understanding of the automation impact in the interactions between different actors.
  • An insight on the changes in stakeholder’s strategies, according to the level of automation.
  • To prove and to demonstrate the benefits of the introduction of higher automation levels in the ATM environment.
  • Recommendations, on early introduction of higher automation levels.
  • Definition of roles and responsibilities of the human actors according to different automation levels.
  • Identification and pre-specification of tool’s functionalities which support the introduction of higher automation levels.

The better understanding of how automation may change strategies and responsibilities of several ATM roles will enable the members of the ATM community to identify their real future needs. This knowledge of the future ATM stage will help making the most of the available efforts - such as budget, tool functionalities development, or training.


Approach and methodology


Herewith, summary of the activities to be developed in the WPs is shown:






Project Management

Performs the coordination and management of the project. Main activities are solving administrative and financial issues, reporting and day to day management of the contract


Scenario Definition

Produces the definition and characterisation of the scenarios of interest to be addressed in ADAHR. This WP defines the roles and responsibilities in the scenarios and specifies them for the gaming exercises.


Platform Adaptation

Adapts the paper-based and hardware-based platforms.


Games Execution

Performs the games exercises, including the creation of the game report compiling the outputs of the exercises.


Conclusions & Strategic Recommendations

The analysis and evaluation of the outputs of all the games is performed in this WP, including a set of recommendations for the early implantation of high levels of automation.



Creation of a dissemination plan and execution of the actions and activities described in it.



ADAHR will define a dissemination plan to ensure that the results obtained are correctly spread among the ATM community. Target groups of the dissemination activities will be:

  • The work packages (WP) identified as potential beneficiaries within the SESAR programme.
  • The SESAR WPE networks.
  • ATM service providers and users.

The dissemination activity includes the construction of a website containing information about the project’s objectives, approach, public deliverables, planned events, relations with other projects, etc. which will be continuously maintained during the project’s lifetime. It will have a public access area and a limited access area for the use of the consortium to transfer information and facilitate information exchange. ADAHR web page with its services will be continued for at least 24 months after the end of the project.

Academic papers, articles in trade publications and conference presentations will be produced throughout the duration of the project. Specifically, WPE networks will be addressed for white paper dissemination and the associations of which the consortium are members.