Picture of Limits of human adaptation to added and modified aircraft dynamics

Limits of human adaptation to added and modified aircraft dynamics

  • Status: Active
  • Since October 2013

A cybernetic analysis of the limitations on human control adaptation due to changes in controlled dynamics.

The concept of “maximum unnoticed added dynamics” (MUAD) is used traditionally in studies of aircraft handling qualities, to formalize the human pilot’s sensitivity to the specific dynamics of his controlled aircraft. Furthermore, recently renewed interest in MUADs has arisen for flight simulation applications, as any tolerance that may be available in the development of realistic aircraft dynamics models would be greatly welcomed. A MUAD is an envelope within which any added dynamics (e.g., augmented systems, system failures) to the original aircraft dynamics will remain unnoticed by the pilot. MUAD envelope boundaries are typically derived from subjective evaluations of a large number of added dynamics in a challenging manual control task.

In this project, we aim to forego the reliance on subjective pilot data by instead focusing on human control behavior in compensatory tracking tasks for both predicting and measuring human control adaptation to differences in controlled (aircraft) dynamics. We strive for developing a methodology that captures both differences in dynamics induced as true “added” dynamics, as well as changes due to parameter changes of the baseline aircraft dynamics. The focus on compensatory tracking for this application allows us to use a model-based, cybernetic approach, in which human operator control behavior, and its adaptation, is explicitly parameterized. Using both offline simulations to predict human adaptation and human-in-the-loop experiments — performed in our HMILab and SIMONA Research Simulator — to measure real human adaptation, we aim at deriving “manual control adaptation” envelopes that capture the maximum allowable changes in controlled dynamics that do not induce a change in human control behavior, comparable to how MUAD envelopes show the limits of subjective noticeability.

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