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Researchers investigate the neuroscience behind pilot error

PUBLISHED: 15:01 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:01 14 February 2018

B747 Cockpit (c) Mubarak Fahad, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

B747 Cockpit (c) Mubarak Fahad, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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Up to 70% of aviation accidents are due to human error. Research by AXA-funded neuroergonomics expert Prof Frédéric Dehais is seeking innovative solutions to mitigate human error

Modern aircraft are so complex that in highly stressful and uncertain situations even expert pilots can literally tune out warning alarms – known as inattentional deafness – or carry on with actions irrational in the circumstances that make the situation worse. When pilots are overwhelmed, their brain may give priority to visual stimuli.

By using brain imaging, signal processing and AI techniques in situation-specific flight simulations, Dehais hopes to produce innovative solutions that will reduce human error and ultimately make aircraft safer. His research is also intended to lead to better pilot training and ‘smart’ cockpit redesigns which actively work to prevent error.

Members of the aeronautics industry, flight safety boards and commercial airlines have been following Dehais’ research and the US FAA is already developing new legislation for pilot training following an eye-tracking study Dehais carried out revealing that pilots were not sufficiently monitoring the cockpit.

The research methods and ‘cognitive countermeasures’ that Dehais wishes to develop can be seen in the below video.

For more information on the research click here.

To learn more about the AXA Research Fund click here.

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