Aviation & Human Factors Engineering

My overall impression of the DSoft team is very positive.  All have been professional and courteous in my direct exchanges with them.  Great team, great leader, and I appreciate the hard work and sacrifices from you and the rest of the DSoft support.

- Senior Technical Lead, Acquisitions T&E and Technical Services, Battelle, 2017

With projects underway for the FAA and TSA, DSoft Technology provides a wide range of advanced human factors engineering expertise through staff located throughout the U.S.


Federal Aviation Administration

DSoft Technology provides Human Factors expertise for a wide range of projects for the Federal Aviation Administration at the William J. Hughes Technical Center, one of the FAA's primary research centers.  DSoft supports a range of projects largely focused on air traffic management and the integration of emerging NextGen technologies and procedures.  Projects range from concept development to high fidelity, real-time human-in-the-loop simulations.  These projects have included studying the impacts of unmanned aerial systems on the National Airspace System, providing human factors guidance on how to improve the transmission of messages to controllers, developing prototypes for time-based information displays, and measuring the effectiveness of weather displays for pilots.  DSoft also engages in general human factors tasks and have contributed to the FAA's Human Factors design standard, assessed the capabilities of the Technical Center's laboratories, and created software style guides.  DSoft Human Factors personnel are integral team members, contributing in all phases of projects, from background research and test planning, to experimental design and data collection, to data analysis and technical report development.


FAA Capability Utilization

DSoft Technology assists the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Research Development and Human Factors Laboratory (RDHFL), Atlantic City, New Jersey team with the development of a data-driven approach to understanding how air traffic controller (ATC) capabilities are used.  The project is concerned with en route airspace (>10,000 feet) En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM)/User Systems via Air Traffic Management (ATM) Intermediate Point of Presence (IPOP) data messages.  The developed tools will be used to parse, reduce and analyze Sarbot data, which is ERAM's data recording and retrieval system, to determine the frequency of capability usage and the results of that usage.  The technologies being used for data display are a Python Flask web microframework managed Bokeh visualization library wrapped in a Python Tornado web server gateway interface (WSGI) container.  Data reduction is accomplished using the Python language and final data storage is done in a PostgreSQL database.


FAA/TSC Project

The FAA/TSC project is an effort to enhance the TFMS Simulation Capability (TSC) under the direction of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Human Factors Research and Development. The overall goal of enhancing the TSC is to provide dynamic simulations that will allow users to interact with a simulation for the purposes of conducting Human-in-the-loop (HITL) studies. By allowing users to inject changes to aircraft flight characteristics (departure time, route of flight, etc.) at runtime, they can influence traffic flows. In this way researchers will be able to design and run experiments, analyze the results, and develop improvements to the flow of air traffic. One example is to develop better procedures to reroute flights in the event of weather hazards. Four new features will be implemented within the TSC code base that will further the advancement of this effort.

The first feature is the use of the TSC/AgentFly Visualization Messages in the TSC GUI Tool. Menu items in the user interface will allow the user to select and deselect aircraft in the AgentFly visualization window for the purpose of highlighting desired aircraft involved in an experiment. The next set of menu items allows users to add and remove routes to and from the AgentFly visualization window. The next feature is the Simulation Clock. The TSC is driven by several tasks that execute repeatedly at fixed intervals. Each task runs independently of each other in Timer Tasks and reside throughout the code. Examples is a task to read the data from the static flight messages from a file and fed into the system a task to send periodic aircraft position updates to AgentFly. To allow researchers more control over simulations, it is necessary to bring all these tasks into an environment where they can run together in a "lock step" fashion controlled by a simulation clock. All tasks scheduled to execute will start at the beginning of a clock cycle. The clock cycle will then block until the last task has finished. After the completion of the last task, the clock's time updated and the next cycle begins and all the scheduled tasks will execute again. With this kind of control, researchers can run simulations in a "fast mode" and even pause the simulation for a specified amount of time.The next feature is the Sequenced Task Player which will be used to execute a sequence of related tasks, one at a time, in order from first to last. The purpose of the task player is for testing purposes, to verify and validate a simulation, and to allow researcher to design and run experiments which can later be analyzed. A list of canned sequences will be hard coded and available from the menu bar of the TSC GUI tool. Future releases may include dynamically created tasks through a user interface.The last feature is the geospatial utility. Some code was extracted from AgentFly which has the capability of performing some very useful geospatial computations involving flight routes. This code will be integrated into TSC as a utility to perform such tasks as determining when an aircraft has reached to boundary of a segment of center.


Transportation Security Administration

DSoft Technology, Engineering & Analysis, Inc. provides field test data collection services to the TSA Acceptance Testing Support Services (ATSS) through our prime contractor, Battelle Memorial Institute, to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)'s office of Security Technology.  The ATSS program involves acceptance testing and evaluating new passenger and baggage screening technologies.  DSoft Technology's field test engineers provide Integrated Site Acceptance Test (ISAT) support by providing coordination, preparation, execution, data analysis, and reporting services to ensure passenger and facility safety and security.

DSoft Technology also provides Human System Integration (HSI) Testing and Evaluation (T&E) support.  In addition to HSI T&E support, DSoft Technology provides technical advice to the Battelle team on generalized test planning, analysis, and reporting. Additionally, DSoft provides expert advice on the development of a T&E Guide Testing & Evaluation Guide for TSA management and its T&E support contractors. Testing and evaluation includes airline passenger new screening technologies, processes, and procedures, and all forms of System Acceptance Testing. A major HSI test tool is the generation and application of passenger and TSA Security Officer (TSO) surveys; survey administration, data collection, analysis and reporting are included based on the Handbook of Human Factors Testing & Evaluation, co-authored by one of our principal research scientists Mr. Thomas O'Brien. The HSI T&E is based on generated test program elements to include examination of the seven elements of MANPRINT, which include manpower, personnel, training, human factors engineering, system safety, health hazards, and personnel survivability. DSoft produced several HSI Assessment reports focusing on HSI issues relative to various passenger and cargo screening systems deployed at US airports and other transportation sites.

Our field test engineers gather reliability, availability, maintainability, and other data from airports throughout the continental United States and US protectorates.  This data and subsequent analyses are provided to TSA administrators to facilitate their decision making process to determine whether the latest passenger and cargo screening technologies and processes are effective and suitable for deployment in airports and in other transportation venues. 

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Work completed by the contractor was of top quality. Contractor was very thorough and conscientious throughout the software development process. From time to time identified areas of improvement for the software lifecycle process, which resulted in enhanced testing procedures and more complete impact analysis.  Worked very well with customer and kept them involved and focused on the development of their software. 

- USAF Academy QAE

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