Effects of conflict alerting system reliability and task difficulty on pilots' conflict detection with cockpit display of traffic information.Ergonomics. 2007 Jan 15; 50(1):112-30.E
A total of 24 pilots viewed dynamic encounters between their own aircraft and an intruder aircraft on a 2-D cockpit display of traffic information (CDTI) and estimated the point and time of closest approach. A three-level alerting system provided a correct categorical estimate of the projected miss distance on 83% of the trials. The remaining 17% of alerts were equally divided between misses and false alarms, of large and small magnitude. Roughly half the pilots depended on automation to improve estimation of miss distance relative to the baseline pilots, who viewed identical trials without the aid of automated alerts. Moreover, they did so more on the more difficult traffic trials resulting in improved performance on the 83% correct automation trials without causing harm on the 17% automation-error trials, compared to the baseline group. The automated alerts appeared to lead pilots to inspect the raw data more closely. While assisting the accurate prediction of miss distance, the automation led to an underestimate of the time remaining until the point of closest approach. The results point to the benefits of even imperfect automation in the strategic alerts characteristic of the CDTI, at least as long as this reliability remains high (above 80%).