What is a reasonable minimum performance of a Visual Tracking Function in a Remote Tower Environment?

This question was raised when the EUROCAE working Group 100 (WG100) “Remote and Virtual Tower” worked on a proper minimum performance standard for a Remote Tower visual tracking function. A visual tracking, e.g., an automated augmentation of the traffic in the panorama view, is supposed to maintain or even increase the ATCO’s situational awareness. However, a tracking function is never reliable by 100% and with reference to the signal detection theory, gains and losses are to be expected with respect to such a new feature. To bring more light into this matter an experimental study has been conducted at German Aerospace Center e.V. (DLR) Remote Tower laboratory in Braunschweig. In a human-in-the-loop real time simulation, seven ATCOs performed a realistic traffic scenario. By four test conditions the performance of the visual tracking was varied by the number of unwanted tracking boxes: (1) no visual tracking (baseline), (2) low, (3) medium, and (4) high. The findings show that ATCOs very much appreciate visual tracking augmentations. ATCOs can more easily detect critical traffic situation, which increases their situational awareness and safety. Further on, acceptance is rather high and workload on a moderate level and both parameters behave rather robustly, even when the number of unwanted tracking boxes increases. Full results and recommendations are now public and can be downloaded:

ICTTE2018 Procedings p. 7-13

Presentation slides