SHAPE - Solutions for Human Automation Partnerships in European ATM

SHAPE deals with a range of issues raised by the increasing automation in European Air Traffic Management (ATM).Automation can bring success or failure, depending on whether it suits the controllers requirements. Experience in the introduction of automation into cockpits has shown that if Human Factors are not properly considered, ‘automation-assisted failures’ may be the end result.


The use of automated tools will depend on the controllers' trust. Trust is a result of many factors such as reliability of the system and transparency of the functions. For competent use of a tool, neither mistrust nor over-trust is desirable.

Situation Awareness (SA)

By changing the allocation of tasks between the human and the machine, automation is likely to have an impact on controller SA. It is therefore important to ensure that an automated tool does not impair controller SA.


The use of new automation can change teamwork and group interaction. This refers, among other things, to the allocation of tasks between team members and the way information is exchanged between team members.

Changes in Skill Requirements

Automation can lead to both skill degradation and the need for new skills. In order to support the successful implementation of new automation, changes in skill requirements need to be analysed. This includes new skills and training needs on one hand, and obsolete skills and potential for skill degradation on the other.

Recovery from System Failure

Automation is able to eliminate certain human errors when functioning correctly. However, if automation fails, the human needs to diagnose and mitigate the effects of system failure. Thus, there is a need to consider how the controller will ensure safe recovery should system failures occur within an automated system.


Automation usually aims to reduce workload, by assigning tasks to the machine that were previously carried out by the human. However, automation can also yield new demands, in particular with respect to cognitive and perceptual activity. Therefore, it is important to ensure that new automation does not increase controllers’ workload.


The age of controllers can be a factor that affects the extent to which the implementation of automation is successful. When designing and implementing a tool, it needs to be ensured that it is equally suitable and acceptable for controllers of different age groups.

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Deliverables & Marketing material

All these deliverables are viewable with abstracts and can be downloaded directly from our publications list.

SHAPE Support team

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