Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences


UC Berkeley


2010 Research Summary

A Hybrid System Model of Air Traffic Controller Cognition

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Haomiao Huang

Transportation Research Board Graduate Research Award in Public Sector Aviation Issues

Increased automation in air traffic control has many benefits, but to safely and effectively incorporate advanced automation tools requires careful analysis of their impact on human controllers. The cognitive psychology and human factors literature have produced many qualitative models that describe the cognitive processes of controllers, as well as a variety of computational models that attempt to directly reproduce the way controllers make decisions. The work presented here uses these results to form a novel hybrid system framework for modeling human cognition, and describes a model of air traffic controller cognition based upon this framework. The thought process is modeled as a set of critical variables that represent the human controller's picture of a given air traffic situation, with the evolution over time of these variables described by a set of hybrid dynamics where the discrete variables correspond to different thought processes and cognitive tasks. The primary contribution of this work is to place the cognitive model within the formal mathematical framework of hybrid systems theory, allowing verification and online estimation and control to be performed using the tools of hybrid systems.

H. Huang and C.J. Tomlin, "A Hybrid System Model of Air Traffic Controller Cognition", to be presented at the 2010 Meeting of the National Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., January, 2010.