Professor Luca Chittaro

Virtual Reality Systems for Cabin Crew Training: Studies on Competence Retention

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Professor Luca Chittaro, Director, Human-Computer Interaction Lab, University of Udine / AVIETRA Co-Founder

Luca Chittaro is full professor of Human Factors/Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics of the University of Udine, Italy, where he heads the UCI Laboratory, which he founded in 1998. He also co-founded AVIETRA, the first virtual reality (VR) company to focus exclusively on aviation. AVIETRA launched the first VR products in the market for cabin crew training in 2017. Since then, it has delivered customized VR applications to different airlines and aviation schools worldwide. 

Prof. Chittaro has designed innovative training applications for Cabin Safety, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Safety, and Bank Security. His research on aviation training apps was funded by FAA grants as well as EU grants. The apps for passenger safety he created have been particularly successful: as of June 2019, they have been installed by 6 million users in total.

He has authored or co-authored over 200 international publications. He has received research grants from a wide range of organizations, including the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the European Union (EU), the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR), and international companies such as the Benetton Group and the Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Group.

Virtual Reality Systems for Cabin Crew Training: Studies on Competence Retention

The rapidly growing number of different types of Virtual Reality (VR) equipment available in the market increases the opportunities to introduce VR in cabin crew training. At the same time, it makes it more difficult and confusing for airlines and aviation schools to make choices about what types of VR hardware to adopt. To provide guidance about what effects different systems produce in training, studies are needed, especially about competence retention, an important outcome that is unfortunately rarely considered in VR studies. 

The first part of the presentation will illustrate the main findings about retention obtained in international aviation research projects carried out by our lab under US FAA grants, considering different types of VR equipment and assessing if their different levels of immersion and fidelity can influence retention. The second part of the presentation illustrates the main findings that are emerging from additional retention studies we are currently carrying out with cabin crew training VR content. These new studies extend consideration to other types of devices that support interactive VR experiences. Moreover, they advance the analysis of retention to a more fine-grained level that distinguishes different types of trainee’s knowledge such as procedural and spatial. All over the presentation, particular attention will be given to illustrate and demonstrate practical examples of fully operational systems. The presentation will include two case studies of airlines/aviation schools that have moved from the proof-of-concept to the operational stage in using VR training for cabin crew.