case study

Workload Mitigation



PROBLEM: The U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift Cross Function Team leadership had a high priority concern that their next-generation rotorcraft would put future aircrews at risk of cognitive overload in combat situations. They needed an independent team of cognitive engineering experts to assess the Army’s science and technology development efforts and identify if the Army was sufficiently positioned to mitigate the risk of cognitive overload.

APPROACH: Applied Decision Science reconvened the world class cognitive engineering team from the Optimally Crewed Vehicle effort to conduct the Future Vertical Lift Cognitive Workload Risk Mitigation study. In this short four-month study, we identified workload drivers in existing Army Aviation platforms by reviewing prior Army Aviation workload studies as well as operational concepts for the envisioned Future Vertical Lift platforms operating in Joint All Domain Operations. In addition, we applied cognitive task analysis methods to forecast the cognitive requirements of future aircrew.  With those demands in hand, we then examined modernized Army Aviation aircraft and the Army’s portfolio of science and technology research and development programs to determine how the Army would mitigate the risk of cognitive overload for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) aircrews.

Impact: We integrated our findings and crafted a report directed to the wider Future Vertical Lift and Army Aviation audience. The report and its executive summary defined cognitive workload, described anticipated workload drivers, and assessed the array of science, technology, and development programs. In addition, we described four focus areas that will be important in order to manage the risk of cognitive overload. Within days of receipt, the government customer shared the Cognitive Workload Risk Mitigation report with Future Vertical Lift partners in government and industry.

Ernst, K., Militello, L., Roth, E., Sushereba, C., & Scheff, S. (2020). Future Vertical Lift Cognitive Workload Risk Mitigation Study Executive Summary. Applied Decision Science.
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