Effect of Novel Adaptive Displays on Pilot Performance and Workload

Liu1, D., Guarino2, S., Roth3, E., Harper2, K., and Vincenzi4, D.

In International Journal of Aviation Psychology, 22 (3), pg 242-265.

The effect of adaptive display on pilot performance was assessed using objective and subjective measures from a sequence of 2 experiments. Combat aircraft advances have led to dramatic increases in the operational tempo facing the pilot, increasing the likelihood for situation awareness (SA) failures, biases, and information overload. Prior research suggests that adaptive interface might help to address this issue. We designed and evaluated 2 interfaces targeted at problem areas for pilots: a weapons employment zone (WEZ) display designed to support awareness of combat geometry, and an adaptive border display (ABD) designed to warn pilots of impending border infractions breaking rules of engagement. Two experiments were conducted under various levels of scenario complexities to test the ability of these displays to improve SA, reduce workload, and improve objective performance in a population of licensed civilian pilots. Study 1 results showed that the WEZ display significantly improved both performance and SA, and reduced workload. However, there were no significant effects of the ABD. In the second study, we used substantially more complex scenarios to investigate the effect of the ABD. Results showed that in these situations, the ABD had a significant effect on improving pilot performance. The results demonstrate the value of adaptive visualizations that highlight key aspects of the environment that impact performance. Although the results have verified the benefits of adaptive displays, more sensitive performance measures and diverse test pilots are suggested in the future to provide more confidence in applying these findings. Potential application of this research includes modern aircraft cockpit interface design under complex combat scenarios.

1 Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU)
2 Charles River Analytics
3 Roth Cognitive Engineering
4 Naval Air Warfar Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD)

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