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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24309

Title: The Development and Evaluation of a Model of Time-of-arrival Uncertainty
Authors: Hooey, Becky
Advisor: Milgram, Paul
Department: Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Keywords: Uncertainty
Time-of-Arrival
Interval Estimation
Air Traffic Control
human-centred automation
Issue Date: 13-Apr-2010
Abstract: Uncertainty is inherent in complex socio-technical systems such as in aviation, military, and surface transportation domains. An improved understanding of how operators comprehend this uncertainty is critical to the development of operations and technology. Towards the development of a model of time of arrival (TOA) uncertainty, Experiment 1 was conducted to determine how air traffic controllers estimate TOA uncertainty and to identify sources of TOA uncertainty. The resulting model proposed that operators first develop a library of speed and TOA profiles through experience. As they encounter subsequent aircraft, they compare each vehicle’s speed profile to their personal library and apply the associated estimate of TOA uncertainty. To test this model, a normative model was adopted to compare inferences made by human observers to the corresponding inferences that would be made by an optimal observer who had knowledge of the underlying distribution. An experimental platform was developed and implemented in which subjects observed vehicles with variable speeds and then estimated the mean and interval that captured 95% of the speeds and TOAs. Experiments 2 and 3 were then conducted and revealed that subjects overestimated TOA intervals for fast stimuli and underestimated TOA intervals for slow stimuli, particularly when speed variability was high. Subjects underestimated the amount of positive skew of the TOA distribution, particularly in slow/high variability conditions. Experiment 3 also demonstrated that subjects overestimated TOA uncertainty for short distances and underestimated TOA uncertainty for long distances. It was shown that subjects applied a representative heuristic by selecting the trained speed profile that was most similar to the observed vehicle’s profile, and applying the TOA uncertainty estimate of that trained profile. Multiple regression analyses revealed that the task of TOA uncertainty estimation contributed the most to TOA uncertainty estimation error as compared to the tasks of building accurate speed models and identifying the appropriate speed model to apply to a stimulus. Two systematic biases that account for the observed TOA uncertainty estimation errors were revealed: Assumption of symmetry and aversion to extremes. Operational implications in terms of safety and efficiency for the aviation domain are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24309
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering - Doctoral theses

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