MINIMA 2nd Advisory Board Meeting at the WAC 2018 in Madrid

MINIMA – Advisory Board (AB) Meeting Introduction

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MINIMA (MItigating Negative Impacts of Monitoring high levels of Automation) is a research project funded by the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the grant agreement No 699282 in the framework of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The MINIMA research team is composed by the DLR – Coordinator, ONERA, and the University of Bologna. BrainSigns is a neuroscientists company involved as third party. The project started on May 1st, 2016 and will end on April 30th, 2018.

As envisaged by both SESAR JU and HALA! Research Network, higher levels of automation will help ATCOs to deal with increasingly complex airspace scenarios, enabling them to manage complex areas in a safe and efficient way. On the other hand we will have to cope with high automation-related side effects such as the negative effects of monitoring tasks and principally with the OOTL (Out of the Loop) phenomena.

The general objective of MINIMA was to improve our comprehension of the OOTL performance problem especially according to a future air traffic scenario. Furthermore, MINIMA developed tools to detect and compensate the negative impact of this phenomenon.

In order to involve the stakeholders, the Consortium planned to invite representatives of ANSPs and Research Organizations to take part to the MINIMA Advisory Board (AB). Therefore, two AB Meetings have been organised in order to foster the discussion among the consortium members and the AB Meeting Members. The First MINIMA AB Meeting has been held in Delft in November 2016, during the SESAR Innovation Days. The objective of the first meeting was to collect impressions on the objectives and on the methodology identified by the consortium members to further develop the project activities. The Second Advisory Board of MINIMA has been organized on March 8th 2018 at the Feira de Madrid (Spain) during the 2018 World ATM Congress.

Five experts coming from ANSPs, Research Organizations and Research Companies participated on a voluntary base to the Second Advisory Board Meeting of MINIMA. Being close to the end of the project, participants have been presented with the results of the MINIMA evaluation experiments and then they have been asked to support the project through the active participation to the discussion concerning the following main questions:

  1. Did the project actually achieve its initial objectives?
  2. Which are the main areas of exploitation of the MINIMA results from the stakeholder’s perspective?

The duration of the meeting in Madrid has been 3 hours and the agenda was the following:

  • Introduction to the MINIMA project and the MINIMA concept developed.
  • Presentation of the main results of the simulation based experiments.
  • Discussion with the Advisory Board Members for the evaluations of whether the results match the planned high levels objectives.
  • Collection of the type and the priority of opportunities for the exploitation of MINIMA results in the future ATM and human machine interface research.

In order to collect the participants’ feedback a questionnaire has been prepared. The questionnaire is divided into two parts and is structured in a set of five points scales questions and open questions. The first part concerns the achievement of the objectives and the second one the areas of exploitation.

MINIMA – AB Feedback on MINIMA Achievements

AB members have been asked to express their opinion on the level of achievement of the four objectives reported below.

  • Identification of OOTL effects through a literature and expert-based research in order to define:
    1. The classification of the OOTL effects;
    2. The methods to identify and measure the OOTL effects;
    3. The methods to mitigate such OOTL effects.
      1. Development of a Vigilance and Attention Observer that allows preventing the OOTL effects through real-time assessment of vigilance decrements by means of psychophysiological parameters, namely electroencephalography.
      2. Conception of an OOTL mitigation strategy based on the adaptation of the level of automation triggered by different levels of vigilance.
    4. Validation of the Vigilance and Attention Observer and of the adaptive automation strategy in a Task Environment based on a Terminal Manoeuvring Area (TMA) simulator to be operated by means of an automated radar display.

Overall, the participants gave a positive feedback along the four objectives since they agreed or strongly agreed to the fact that the MINIMA project actually achieved its initial targets. The literature review on the OOTL effects has been evaluated as good and coherent with the context of the project. One participant suggests investigating more deeply the relationship between vigilance and workload. The Vigilance Observer received a particular attention and some questions arose concerning the right level of vigilance and the integration with other neurophysiological measures. An interesting comment on the mitigation strategy regards the level of generalization with regard to the specific simulation environment used to validate the MINIMA Concept. Actually, the concept and the Vigilance Observer have been developed independently from the Test Environment. Therefore, we can consider it as a general strategy. On the validation side, all the participants agree that the project successfully achieved this objective involving real ATCOs.

MINIMA – AB Considerations on MINIMA Exploitation Areas

AB members have been asked to express their opinion on the level of importance of the four areas of exploitation reported below and to express an open comment afterward.

  1. To cover not only the nominal situations but also the use cases in which automation failures or adaptive system failures happen
  2. To cover not only the TMA but also other areas of future SESAR Concept of Operations
  3. To exploit the Vigilance and Attention Observer for training controllers in self recognising their level of vigilance and Attention
  4. To exploit the Vigilance and Attention Observer in other domains, such as automotive or power plants or in medicine.

Participants rated as important or very important most of the four areas of exploitation proposed in the list. The possibility to measure and mitigate the vigilance level is recognized as a very promising method to cope with the OOTL effects, both in ATM and in other domains. One participant rated the achievements 2 and 3 as moderately important and the answer is motivated with the fact that probably the research results would be not so much different and that in using the MINIMA concept for selftraining in recognizing low levels of vigilance benefits would be difficult to measure.

Generally, all the participants found the MINIMA concept suitable for further investigations or exploitations.

The MINIMA Consortium acknowledges the participants for their availability and for their proactivity during the meeting.