NINA is a research project co-funded by SESAR, as part of its long term research programme.


It aimed at developing a tool able to perform a real time assessment on a set of cognitive states of Air Traffic Controllers performing their job – such as mental workload intensity, type of attentional control and proficiency level gained during a training period. The tool uses an algorithm based on the analysis of 3 main neurophysiologic indexes: electrical brain activity, heart rate variability, eye blinking.


As an integral part of the project, a study to show how the further development of similar kinds of tools could enhance aviation safety and efficiency was performed. This page briefly summarises the results of the study, presenting a proof-of-concept for an advanced system able to understand in real time the operator’s psycho-physical state, to match it with the situation in which she is operating and to provide the best automated support accordingly.

The adaptive automation concept

The adaptation process

The adaptation logic

The system reacts to 3 different sources of disruption (traffic complexity, time pressure and reduced fitness) providing specific support to the 4 main processes controllers have to perform (information acquisition, analysis, action selection and implementation). The level of automation of the solutions ranges from low (the system leave the human completely in charge) to high (the system decides and implements some actions).

Advanced Adaptive Solutions

Have a look to 12 concepts of adaptive solutions. Click on them to see how they work.

disruption-complexity Complexity

disruption-timepressure Time Pressure

disruption-fitness Fitness

disruption-complexity Complexity

disruption-timepressure Time Pressure

disruption-fitness Fitness


The adaptive solutions help controllers to acquire all the relevant information they need to safely manage the current traffic.


The adaptive solutions help controllers to correctly understand the meaning of the acquired information.


The adaptive solutions support controllers in selecting the most appropriate action or decision.


The adaptive solutions support controllers to correctly execute the selected action.

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