08/07/2020 -

The Neuroergonomics of Aircraft Cockpits: The Four Stages of Eye-Tracking Integration to Enhance Flight Safety

Vsevolod Peysakhovich, Olivier Lefrançois, Frédéric Dehais, Mickaël Causse

Commercial aviation is currently one of the safest modes of transportation; however, human error is still one major contributing cause of aeronautical accidents and incidents. One promising avenue to further enhance flight safety is Neuroergonomics, an approach at the intersection of neuroscience, cognitive engineering and human factors, which aims to create better human–system interaction. Eye-tracking technology allows users to “monitor the monitoring” by providing insights into both pilots’ attentional distribution and underlying decisional processes. In this position paper, we identify and define a framework of four stages of step-by-step integration of eye-tracking systems in modern cockpits. Stage I concerns Pilot Training and Flight Performance Analysis on-ground; stage II proposes On-board Gaze Recordings as extra data for the “black box” recorders; stage III describes Gaze-Based Flight Deck Adaptation including warning and alerting systems, and, eventually, stage IV prophesies Gaze-Based Aircraft Adaptation including authority taking by the aircraft. We illustrate the potential of these four steps with a description of incidents or accidents that we could certainly have avoided thanks to eye-tracking. Estimated milestones for the integration of each stage are also proposed together with a list of some implementation limitations. We believe that the research institutions and industrial actors of the domain will all benefit from the integration of the framework of the eye-tracking systems into cockpits.

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