Ensuring Aviation Safety: Verification of Interactions between Automated Systems and Humans

The on-going transformation from the current US Air Traffic System (ATS) to the Next Generation Air Traffic System (NextGen) introduces new automated systems on the ground as well as in air. This yields new function allocations between humans and automation leading to a change in the roles and responsibilities of people part of the ATS. Yet, safety in NextGen is required to be at least as good as in the current system. We therefore need techniques to efficiently evaluate the safety of the interactions between humans and different types of automation. Current human factor studies and simulation-based techniques fall short in front of the ATS complexity. At NASA we have developed an approach based on modeling and analysis of humans interacting with automation in a single integrated framework. We present our approach for modeling and analysis of complex scenarios such as the Air France Flight 447 accident, an optimized profile descent, and go-around scenarios.

Dr. Neha Rungta is a Research Scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center located in California. Dr. Rungta’s research interests are in software model checking, verification of multi-agent systems for aviation safety, requirements analysis, and automated program analysis. In the past 10 years, Dr. Rungta’s work has been geared toward developing verification techniques for automated test case generation, detection of subtle concurrency errors, incremental program analysis, and verification of multi-agent systems.