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 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 aims to validate and progressively mature these solutions for the benefit of the ATM network in terms of safety, capacity, efficiency and flexibility.
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 DTT, 31 international partners focus on the two solutions for future airports.
Multiple Remote Tower and Remote Tower Centre
The main objective of DTTs first sub-project, called 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 an even better match between traffic demand and the required controllers. The ambition of this extension to the state-of-the-art is to help further reduce costs 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
DTTs second sub-project, called 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 controller’s essential tasks in the airport operating environment.
This should reduce the controllers’ need to switch between head-down and head-up views 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 directly benefiting the controllers, the efficiency of ATMs should also benefit indirectly. Additionally, the solution aims to contribute to the digitalization process that is changing businesses in many areas – particularly in the ATM field.