Human Factors and ADS-B

Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) is fundamental to the foundation in the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). The FAA mandate is to install ADS-B Out equipment for aircraft flying in US airspace by January 1, 2020 (above 10,000 feet or in Class B or C airspace); however, aircraft operating in some countries' airspace must already be compliant.

A human factors evaluation of the ADS-B system has shown the technology can significantly improve pilot awareness.

Human factors always are of some concern, even when equipment operates properly. One notable concern is that pilots using ADS-B cockpit displays, particularly in single-pilot operations, could become distracted to the degree that their see-and avoid activity is impaired. This is offset to some degree by the assistance they receive in having displayed traffic continuously available and updated.

In nearly all cases, ADS-B applications are low risk. Some applications of ADS-B, including traffic information, improve the safety of the national airspace system, while others, like weather products, will enable operational improvements without degrading safety.

In the medium risk areas is the possibility of using hazardously misleading information where ADS-B is used for self-separation, or where it could mislead the controller and produce an unsafe clearance. Standards, monitoring, or independent validation of broadcast data can control these risks.