The following requirements were investigated in three simulation studies:
1. Requirements Study
The requirements study was designed to investigate the question of which skills are necessary on an individual basis in order to be an effective team member. This study made use of the simulation tool ConCenT (Generic Control Center Task Environment). In a preliminary study, 21 teams, each consisting of three participants, were given the following tasks: monitoring dispersed operations as a team, reporting malfunctions, investigating the causes of malfunctions through cooperative deductive reasoning, and resolving the source of the malfunction by collectively weighing the alternatives.
Conducting the study to investigate the requirements, taken during a testing phase
It was determined that a team’s effectiveness and efficiency in reporting, diagnosing, and solving the malfunctions were decisive for its performance. The data concerning communication and eye-movements were analyzed while the participants were processing the tasks and were then correlated with the performance indicators.
The monitoring task was used to analyze the cooperation between the participants concerning their collective monitoring and identifying malfunctions. In order to do so, the eye-movement and communication data from the cases where the malfunctions were correctly reported were compared to the data from those cases where the malfunction was not reported.
Furthermore, the study also investigated how recurring coordination processes are formed within teams. This was done in order to examine the influence of individual behavioral patterns on the coordination patterns of successful and less successful teams. On the long-term, we would like use this data in order to develop a diagnostic instrument for aptitude testing for working in control centers.
2. Fatigue Study
This study was conducted in order to investigate the influence of fatigue on the performance and collaborative decision-making behavior of operators. For this purpose, within the context of an empirical study, fatigue was induced among the participants by subjecting them to sleep deprivation under controlled laboratory conditions.
The study took place in the psychology laboratory (module 5) and the test-subject station (module 3) of the DLR research facility called “:enivhab.” The fatigue was recorded using both objective and subjective indicators. During the study, the test subjects were put through a test battery multiple times, which included tasks and scenarios related to vigilance, monitoring, and decision-making. The control center simulation, ConCenT, was utilized for this purpose and the integrated eye-tracking measurements were taken into consideration as a parameter for evaluating performance. The study was designed to gain insight into the effect of fatigue on the performance and collaborative decision-making of teams working in control centers.
Conducting the study on the influence of fatigue in control centers at :envihab psychology lab
3. Guidelines Study
Team processes should not be underestimated in the context of performance and job satisfaction, especially in smaller groups of highly qualified individuals. Potential loss due to friction can be counteracted in a variety of ways, for example through organization, training, or selection. Teams have the potential to overcome complex and multilayered problems with large amounts of flexibility, productivity, and creativity. In particular when working in dynamic and complex environments – such as modern control centers – team members have to react quickly and flexibly to changes in tasks or to sudden occurrences.
In addition to important aspects of the task at hand, such as organizational objectives as well as the safety and fluidity of air traffic, factors such as an individual’s personality, performance capabilities, professional knowledge, and experience are all essential. The analysis is meant to examine all of these aspects with regards to their influence on the excellence of collaborative decision-making processes. It is hypothesized that individual ability and personality factors primarily influence collaborative decision-making when there is no structured communication guideline available. In order to investigate this, trials were conducted with experts from the airports in Vienna, Frankfurt, Munich, and Hamburg, which took place in the control center simulator ACCES at the Institute of Flight Guidance. The influence of a guideline on a team’s decision making was investigated using four teams (each with four operational experts, a ground dispatcher, two airline representatives, and an airport representative). This was the first time that experts from the field utilized the Airport Collaborative-Decision-Making Simulation – designed by the ATM-Simulation department – and its corresponding user displays.
Conducting the guideline study in the ACCES simulator at the DLR in Brunswick, Germany
Dr. Carmen Bruder
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Aviation and Space Psychology
Phone 040 513096 61
April 1st, 2014 to December 31st, 2017
DLR-Institute of Aerospace Medicine:
Aviation and Space Psychology
Flight Medicine Clinic (FMC)
DLR-Institute of Flight Guidance:
The German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD)
DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH,
Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Flughafen Hamburg GmbH
Hamburger Hochbahn AG
Spaceopal with the DLR GfR mbH