Michael LaMarr

Improved Ground Collision Avoidance System

Tuesday, October 18th

15:00 - 15:40

Key Learnings

  • How usability testing greatly influenced design and audio implementation of iGCAS
  • Learn the tradeoffs and balances involved in research and design for systems that are required for safety
  • How design philosophy scopes and impacts user research and design changes in a positive way
  • How working with a cross discipline team allowed for meaningful qualitative and quantitative data that were necessary to make informed decisions
  • Details

    How Usability Testing Resulted in Improvements to Ground Collision Software for General Aviation Improved Ground Collision Avoidance System

    Three usability studies were conducted on the Improved Ground Collison Avoidance System (iGCAS) from July 2014 to July 2015.  The first two studies focused on the iGCAS displays provided to pilots and how they would be used during controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) scenarios.  These studies lead to five design iterations of the displays and the implementation of audio in the final design.

    The focus of this talk will be on the third study conducted an at Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Air Venture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin from July 19th through July 26th, 2015.  The objectives of this study were to assess the overall appropriateness and acceptability of iGCAS as a warning system for General Aviation aircraft, usability of the iGCAS displays, effectiveness of audio cues, test terrain avoidance performance, distance from impact to terrain, and pilot response time.

    Twenty-four general aviation pilots attending EAA Air Venture participated in a usability study using the NASA Armstrong Common Integration Tool (CIT) and the iGCAS application on a Google Nexus 4 smart phone. Pilot ages ranged from 18-70 (Mean 44 years old) with 35 to 10,000 (Median 1475 hours) hours flight time.  Pilots flew 8 CFIT scenarios in varying order and responses needed to avoid terrain.  Objective and subjective data were collected to obtain feedback on the design of the iGCAS implementation and displays with each session typically lasting 1.5 hours.

    The rest of the talk will go over how the interfaces were tested, results and recommendations, along with future studies that need to be completed.

    Tuesday, October 18th

    15:00 - 15:40

    Required Experience
    60% Level of Experience
    20% Involvement

    Michael LaMarr

    Lead Human Factors Engineer with Air Force and NASA - NASA Armstrong

    Michael is a California State University of Northridge graduate who holds a Master’s degree in Human Factors and Applied Psychology and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology.

    Michael is currently working as a lead human factors engineer at the Air Force and NASA Armstrong.   Experience ranges from live flight and simulator usability test planning, test execution, and test reporting on the unmanned, fighter, and training aircraft and ground collision avoidance systems.  User feedback and observations gathered have directly improved all systems involved with.

    Outside of his normal work schedule Michael founded GradLift.  There he was responsible for competitive analysis, personas, user experience design, user and marketing research.  Michael also built up and leads a cross functional team of front-end and back-end developers, quality assurance engineer, visual designer, a marketing team, and a board of directors.  Gradlift.com was launched April 2016 and the user experience is constantly being looked at to ensure students are able to crowdfund money for future, present, and past student tuition expenses with ease.

    Also, Michael is currently the Director of Programs for the non-profit organization User Experience Professional Association Los Angeles where he has put together events with leading user-experience professionals with audiences of 150+ and with live streamed events on the internet.

    Michael also conducted user research with NASA AMES and Activision Blizzard (Band Hero: credited) while working on his graduate degree.


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