Confidence in Hybrid Collaboration: An Empirical Investigation of Pilots’ Attitudes towards Advanced Automated Aircraft

Recent accidents involving commercial airplanes have once more raised the question whether pilots can rely on automation in order to fly advanced aircraft safely. Although the issue of human–machine interaction in aviation has frequently been investigated, knowledge about pilots’ perceptions and attitudes is fragmentary and partly out-dated. The paper at hand presents the results of a pilot survey resting on a collaborative perspective of human–automation decision-making, thus making use of recent ideas that turn away from traditional “either-or” concepts. It puts emphasis on the hybrid interaction of human actors and non-human technical agents and the role distribution in the digital cockpit. The key question is whether pilots have confidence in human–automation collaboration, even in the case of automated systems which act autonomously. The results are partly surprising: confidence in hybrid collaboration is rather high, depending mostly on perceived symmetry of humans and automation and perceived change of competencies and role distribution. Perceived complexity is only average, and – most unexpectedly – this factor does not negatively affect pilots’ confidence in hybrid collaboration. The differences between Airbus and Boeing pilots are much lower than assumed, but results for pilots of regional jets, mostly flying short- or medium-range aircraft, markedly differ from those of both former groups, presumably due to their specific task profile, including repeated opportunities to collaborate with automation.


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  • Accession Number: 01607993
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 25 2016 11:03AM