How much is too much on monitoring tasks? Visual scan patterns of single air traffic controller performing multiple remote tower operations

Wen Chin Li*, Peter Kearney, Graham Braithwaite, John J.H. Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The innovative concept of multiple remote tower operation (MRTO) is where a single air traffic controller (ATCO) provides air traffic services to two or more different airports from a geographically separated virtual Tower. Effective visual scanning by the air traffic controller is the main safety concern for human-computer interaction, as the aim of MRTO is a single controller performing air traffic management tasks originally carried out by up to four ATCOs, comprehensively supported by innovative technology. Thirty-two scenarios were recorded and analyzed using an eye tracking device to investigate the above safety concern and the effectiveness of multiple remote tower operations. The results demonstrated that ATCOs' visual scan patterns showed significant task related variation while performing different tasks and interacting with various interfaces on the controller's working position (CWP). ATCOs were supported by new display systems equipped with pan tilt zoom (PTZ) cameras allowing enhanced visual checking of airport surfaces and aircraft positions. Therefore, one ATCO could monitor and provide services for two airports simultaneously. The factors influencing visual attention include how the information is presented, the complexity of that information, and the characteristics of the operating environment. ATCO's attention distribution among display systems is the key human-computer interaction issue in single ATCO performing multiple monitoring tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Volume67
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sept
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Air traffic management
  • Aviation safety
  • Cost-efficiency
  • Human-computer interactions
  • Multiple remote tower operations
  • Situation awareness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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