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Overload Study Tracks Pilots Eyes

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Australian researchers have created a study that aims to answer questions regarding pilots' reliance on automated systems and information overload in emergencies, and seek to inform better delivery of information to pilots in the cockpit. The study, funded by Australia's Defence Science Institute, will be carried out by University of Melbourne and Swinburne University of Technology. Researchers will seek to develop better understanding of performance challenges and human factors as they relate to pilots' interaction with equipment and avionics. Part of the study will track the eye movements of pilots as they work flight simulators to better understand cognitive saturation, situational awareness and the ability of flight instruments to deliver information.

The results of the study are expected to benefit both military and civilian pilots. According to researchers, the results are expected to apply to human factors and may help develop better methods of pilot training. "It's an issue in a range of situations where pilots have to deal with lots of information, process and respond to it," George Collins, deputy vice-chancellor of research and development at Swinburne, told theAustralian.com. The manner in which information is provided to pilots plays an important role in that, he said, and that will be a key component of the research.

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