Air Traffic Management (ATM) in Europe is at the threshold of a series of change processes to make the system more efficient, cost effective, safer and less complex. Change processes often bring huge challenges, which is especially true for ATM because of the number of stakeholders involved.
The National Aerospace Laboratory NLR, Thales and the University of Twente explore how serious gaming can support change processes in ATM in the AeroGame project, under the umbrella of SESAR’s WP-E. The Focus of the project is on the technical, organizational and behavioural changes required for the deployment of the solutions developed within the SESAR programme.
Serious games are games designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. A clear difference with simulation is that simulators attempt to create a lifelike representation of reality in an artificial environment. A serious game does not need to look realistic. However, its events or processes should have real-world equivalents so that its results can be translated to the real world. This ensures that the results of serious games are transferrable to real world applications, while keeping costs low by reducing the environment to its essence.
Each stakeholder involved in a change process in ATM has an own cost-benefit model attached to the investments necessary for change. Add to this the complexity of the system; the inclusion of legacy systems and the need for continuation of the current operation and it is clear that change processes in ATM pose a severe risk of ending in a deadlock.
Serious games help to:
- Make the complexity of phenomena more manageable.
- Stimulate stakeholders to communicate more openly and to collaborate more constructively.
- Finding creative solutions to complex problems.
- Build consensus and positive commitment.
Driven by the success of serious games in numerous other domains, the AeroGame project will develop a serious games aimed toat supporting the ATM change process. Several types of serious games are distinguished that may play a role in this process:
Aimed at making people aware of particular characteristics of complex natural, social and/or technical systems.
Aimed at collaboratively designing and testing solution concepts to complex problems.
Designed to change attitudes or behaviours through persuasion and social influence.
Aimed at developing competences (combined elements of knowledge, skills and attitudes).
The use of game elements in real world processes to engage users and to stimulate and internalize desired behaviour.