Virtual ADSA22: Improve Aviation Security by Reducing Operator Cognitive Load

Unlike previous workshops in the Advanced Development for Security Applications (ADSA) series, this fall’s ADSA22 workshop, “Reducing Operator Cognitive Load in Aviation Security Equipment” was fully virtual and held over the course of four sessions (Nov. 17, Nov. 24, Dec. 1, and Dec. 8). While the change in format was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it allowed for more robust attendance and engagement, especially from international attendees, as aviation security stakeholders from across academia, government, and industry were able to participate without having to travel.

These virtual sessions addressed the important topic of reducing operator cognitive load. Within aviation security, many security roles require continuous attention; workshop attendees gathered to discuss solutions to prevent vigilance decrement. The ADSA22 workshop addressed solutions to this problem, such as automating operator functions within aviation security, the adaptability of machine learning algorithms, implementing open architectures and third-party involvement, and emerging hardware and software technologies.

“As with most ADSA conferences held in the past, the virtual format held a plethora of technical information that was informative and engaging. This was all kicked-off by the RCA Assistant Administrator (Austin Gould) who, among other points of interest, made a strong note of awareness of COVID-19 and how TSA is actively adjusting technology endeavors to incorporate this vital component,” said Frank Cartwright, Capability Development & Integration (CDI) Branch Manager, Requirements & Architecture Division, TSA. “I don’t think the virtual format will completely replace the intangible benefits of a ‘live’ ADSA conference, but it truly pulled in all the main components which draw this community together.”

The workshop also focused on perspectives from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology (S&T) Directorate, and other aviation security stakeholders, and included thought-provoking talks from leaders outside aviation security—including professionals from the fields of sociology and medical imaging.

An important role of the ADSA Workshop series is technology foraging. ALERT intentionally looks for speakers in seemingly unrelated fields to present their technologies, because it is believed that can learn from these fields and technologies, and discover valuable applications for aviation security.

ALERT has hosted the ADSA Workshop series since 2009. Originally named the “Algorithm Development for Security Applications” Workshop series, the name was changed following ADSA10 in 2014 to reflect how the scope of the workshop series expanded beyond algorithm development. The ADSA Workshop series is intended to address research opportunities that may enable the development of next-generation systems and to facilitate collaboration and innovation between researchers from academia, national labs, and industry.

Dates for the spring workshop, ADSA23, have been set. ALERT stakeholders are encouraged to mark their calendars for May 4, 11, and 25—more information on the workshop and registration details will be forthcoming. ADSA23 will address the topic of Autonomous Systems for Aviation Security.

The final reports and presentations from ADSA22, and previous ADSA workshops are available to download here.

Additionally, ALERT will be hosting a series of half-hour seminars to allow deep-dives into specific topics related to aviation security. The seminars will begin in February 2021. Members of the ADSA community are encouraged to share specific topics of interest for these seminars with ALERT.

ALERT would like to thank all the presenters and attendees for making the ADSA22 workshop successful. In particular, ALERT would like to thank Frank Cartwright (Capability Development & Integration (CDI) Branch Manager, Requirements & Architecture Division, TSA) for coordinating TSA speakers, including an engaging keynote address from Austin Gould (Assistant Administrator for Requirements and Capabilities Analysis, TSA) and Diederik Stolk (Founding Partner, Goldsworthy, Stolk & Associates) for providing valuable insight on transforming the workshop into a virtual event.

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