Lessons Lost: What We Learned About Automation in Aviation Can Be Applied to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and Autonomous Vehicles

Are we applying all the lessons we learned in about automation in commercial aviation to self-driving automobiles, buses, delivery services, and shuttles?

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As research related to automation in aviation evolved from human factors to cognitive engineering and from automation to autonomy, a whole generation of research has been forgotten. With one-third of the engineering work force retired or retiring, in the next 10 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018), the lessons of the past are being lost. But we have a lot to learn from them. Remember George Santayana’s famous quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

To preserve some of the lessons learned, the author wrote seven articles that summarize both the research and the accident analyses conducted from 1970 through 2000 related to automation in commercial aviation to bring the lessons of the past forward. The series also provides guidelines for design of automation.