Cooperation between humans and machines: First results of an experiment with a multi-level cooperative organisation in air traffic control

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The increasing air traffic and the ensuing increasing burden on air traffic controllers suggest to attempt to provide enhanced assistance to air traffic controllers. As it is difficult to reduce the number of primary tasks, a solution is to give active assistance to controllers by means of computer tools that allow for optimal control in order to maintain the level of safety and at the same time regulate the air traffic controllers' workload. The objective of our research is to propose and validate a new organisation of air traffic control. It aims at integrating both levels of the organisation of air traffic control: a tactical level managed by a radar controller and a strategic level managed by a organic controller. Our study at first addresses the tactical level, aiming at ‘horizontal cooperation’ consisting in dynamic allocation of control tasks between a human air traffic controller and an assistance tool. The results of this first approach has oriented the study toward the implementation of a scheduling module for the tactical level. This paper reports the functionalities of air-traffic control and the results of few preceding experiments. A description of the new multi-level organisation is given, to conduce to the presentation of experimental platform, experimental protocol and the first results of experiments.