Crew resource management receives an artificial helping hand
I remember when I was first introduced to crew resource management (CRM) during one of my recurrent airline classes. What a fantastic concept it was at the time. The first officers in the room were thrilled that we finally had a voice. We had all flown with Captains who thought they owned every switch and lever in the plane and would barely let us touch any of them. It was sometimes intimidating to be a first officer.
CRM was a gamechanger for those who worked as part of a crew. We could finally communicate as a team and bounce ideas and solutions off each other. The other person could become a lifesaver; having another person up there as a team member made flying infinitely safer. The implementation of CRM did the flying public a tremendous service. Things are about to change on the flight deck again. This time our newest team member will be a machine. Artificial intelligence (AI) is coming sooner than we think. Personally, it is exciting and terrifying at the same time.
Dassault Aviation is working with ISAE-SUPAERO, a research institution studying the optimization of human-machine interaction. Together they are researching several aspects of human-machine collaboration, specifically automated decision making, systems engineering, and neuro ergonomics. The hope is to make both military and civilian flights more efficient and safer while at the same time making sure that human pilots remain in complete control.
It all sounds complicated to me, but the point is to make it uncomplicated for the pilot. These companies have already done the groundwork by analyzing the mental state of the pilots as they complete tasks and developing algorithms for systems control. They are also developing tools based on machine learning techniques, automated action planning, and physiological measurements.
Now is the time to ensure AI works with the crew to ensure a safe and efficient collaboration between pilots and their machines. A change that adds to flight safety is a good thing in my book.