Europe’s aviation industry is experiencing a sharp rise in air traffic. Air navigation service providers are therefore faced with various challenges to ensure that flight control remains efficient, on time and safe. One way to address these challenges is through increased digitalisation. The EU-funded project “Digital Technologies for Tower” (PJ05-W2 DTT) project is contributing to this solution in two ways. First, it proposes the development of a remote aerodrome air traffic service in which services from various aerodromes are combined in a centralised control room independent of airport location. Second, it intends to validate innovative human-machine interface modes and related technologies in different airport towers. The project’s solutions will provide shorter travel times and better point-to-point connections, as well as increase flight safety and controller productivity.

In the DTT project international partners focus on two solutions for future airports: “Multiple Remote Tower and Remote Tower Centre” and “HMI Interaction Modes for Airport Tower”. The project aims to validate and progressively mature these for the benefit of the ATM network in terms of safety, capacity, efficiency and flexibility.

Multiple Remote Tower and Remote Tower Centre

The main objective of the SESAR solution 35 “Multiple Remote Tower and Remote Tower Centre” is to validate the concept that the provision of air traffic services (ATS) for two or three aerodromes is possible simultaneously, and concurrently reveals a sufficient level of safety of ATC service provision.

This solution will add further flexibility in the allocation of airports to Multi-Remote Tower Modules in a Remote Tower Center, which in turn allows to even better match traffic demand with the required controllers. The ambition of this extension to the state-of-the-art is to contribute to further reducing cost for ATS. The project will deliver new prototypes that will serve as basis for new ATS systems that are the basis for providing ATS to multiple remote towers.

HMI Interaction Modes for Airport Tower

The SESAR solution 97 “HMI Interaction Modes for Airport Tower” investigates the operational and technical objectives of the Controller Working Position. It takes into account the work already performed during PJ05 Wave 1, continuing to provide significant improvements thanks to advanced interaction methods with Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI). Its main objective is to develop and validate innovative HMI solutions that support the controllers duty tasks in the airport operating environment.

This should reduce the controllers’ need to switch in between of head down and head up view as well as the controllers’ workload in overload situations. It should also increase the controllers’ workload in underload situations, his situational awareness, the safety of operations as well as the controllers’ productivity. Apart from direct benefit for controllers, ATMs’ efficiency should benefits indirectly. Additionally, the solution aims to contribute to the digitalization process that is changing businesses in many areas, and particularly in the ATM field.