Effective Automation in ATM: a new perspective on managing and control automated systems

This PhD thesis is developed in collaboration with the Interactive Critical Systems (ICS) team of the IRIT lab in Toulouse and Deep Blue s.r.l. consulting & research in Rome. It is sponsored by HALA! Research Network.

1. Objective

In the future of Air Traffic Management there is an increase of traffic demand and new business challenges that will bring the current ATM system to its capacity limits within the 2013-2015. As a consequence an overall productivity improvement is urgently needed and the path to this is an increase of automation that will support and in some long term cases even completely replace human tasks in order to meet the new capacity and efficiency necessities.
There is thus a need in understanding how human can interact with new highly automated systems and this PhD aims to understand the implications of high levels of automations in human activities like supervision (monitoring and control) and management.

2. Methodology

The methodology used to achieve the before mentioned objective begins with a thorough understanding of automation concept by means of a literature review not only in ATM domain but also in several application domains, such as healthcare, nuclear power plants, games, transportation, and so on. This state of the art allows us to obtain a current and realistic picture of this concept and identify common features, challenges and previous contributions in different domains where automation plays a prominent role. Furthermore, the introduction of a new automation system or a new level of automation might have an impact on the functions or tasks previously carried out by systems or human beings. So it is necessary to understand this migration process and its consequences taking into account benefits and costs, losses and gains. Additionally, it may require new skills and new functions or new tasks carried out by human beings. It is important to assess how to reduce complexity in the migration of functions or tasks between human and automated system and which steps are mandatory to integrate automation.
The descriptive capabilities of existing models are not sufficient to describe in a proper way these applications domains that we can define as Large Scale Socio-Technical Systems, because one model might not be able to capture in an exhaustive manner all the information. So we can combine multiple models offering different perspectives of the system under study and analysing it at different levels of granularity. As a result, we can build a federation of models (for further information please refer to the following link SPAD project )

3. Implication for Research/ Expected Results

The PhD contributions will thus be at theoretical level by defining processes, notations and tools for designing and assessing automation behaviors and techniques. Contributions will also be made at the practical level by applying and testing these theoretical contributions on practical case studies. The originality of this approach lays both in its synergistic and comprehensive aspect, which are not currently widely used in designing interactive critical systems. It should allow us to produce original results of interest both for the scientific community and the ATM industry. The ultimate purpose is to create a process to design and develop an automated system and how it can cope with different performance and variability levels and in case of automation degradation.

5. Selected publications

Barboni, E., Lanzi, P., Martinie, C., Palanque, P., Pasquini, A., Ragosta, M. and Winckler, M. (2011), Formal Tasks and Systems Models as a Tool for Specifying and Assessing Automation Designs, 1st International Conference on Application and Theory of Automation in Command and Control Systems, pp. 46-50, 26 – 27 May, Barcelona, Spain.

Barboni, E., Martinie, C., Palanque, P., Ragosta, M. (2011) Task-Model Based Assessment of Automation Levels: Application to Space Ground Segments, 2011 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, pp. 3267-3273, 9 – 11 October, Anchorage, Alaska.

Hollnagel, E., Martinie, C., Palanque, P., Pasquini, A., Ragosta, M., Rigaud, E., Silvagni, S. (2011) System Performances under Automation Degradation (SPAD), The First SESAR Innovation Days, 29 November – 1 December, Toulouse, France.

Martinie, C., Palanque, P., Ragosta, M. (2012) Some Issues with Interaction Design and Implementation in the Context of Autonomous Interactive Critical Systems. CHI 2012 workshop: End-user interactions with intelligent and autonomous systems, 05 - 12 May, Austin, Texas.

Martinie, C., Palanque, P., Pasquini, A., Ragosta, M., Rigaud, E., Silvagni, S. (2012), Using Complementary Models-Based Approaches for Representing and Analysing ATM Systems’ Variability, 2nd International Conference on Application and Theory of Automation in Command and Control Systems, 29 – 31 May, Imperial College of London, U.K.

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