Aviation Safety Research
A major unresolved issue in aviation safety concerns the lack of passengers’ attention to and understanding of the safety instructions provided by airlines (pre-flight briefings, safety briefing cards and videos). Comprehension of traditional safety instructions is below acceptable limits even in passengers who do pay attention, see for example DOT/FAA/AM-08/20.
This serious lack of safety knowledge can lead to passengers’ injuries and deaths in emergencies that would be instead survivable (contrary to public perception, the large majority of aircraft accidents is survivable).
Our goal is to leverage the power of digital media to reinvent safety instructions and safety education in novel ways, making them more effective as well as more engaging. In particular, our work progresses along five, synergic lines of research:
We study how interactivity can play a significant role in improving comprehension of safety instructions, turning the traditional, ineffective passive listening of safety briefings into an active, exploratory experience that can also provide personalized feedback to passengers based on the errors they make.
We explore how 3D worlds (on common displays as well as wearable, head-mounted displays) can improve learning of safety knowledge. We create different solutions, ranging from virtual characters that illustrate safety procedures to fully immersive, first-person simulations of real accidents, in which users learn to face dangerous situations in safe conditions, including at home.
We design safety tools that can run on personal mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This makes the tools easily accessible to anyone. Moreover, users can access mobile safety experiences anytime, anywhere, increasing exposure time to the safety content.
To engage passengers in the safety education experience, some of our tools include games for learning. Embedding safety knowledge in games, especially if they are designed in such a way that users want to play them repeatedly and for long times, opens the way to implicit learning and repetitive rehearsal of the safety knowledge, increasing its retention.
Effective safety education and training interventions are not limited to increasing knowledge, but extend to changing people’s attitudes towards safety. The design and evaluation of our tools is guided by models that take into account important safety attitudes such as safety locus of control and safety self-efficacy.
The practical goal of our research is to provide airlines and safety organizations with a digital, new generation of safety tools, much more effective than current pre-flight briefings, safety cards and videos. To learn more about the public results of our work, selected scientific publications are available for download in the Publications page. Moreover, you can try first-hand some preliminary demos we have released for different operating systems (Android, Apple iOS, Windows) in the Apps/Videos page. Finally, you can watch selected media coverage in the Media page.