June 21, 2024

Prof. Hartmut Helmke awarded as "DLR Senior Scientist"

Prof. Hartmut Helmke als „DLR Senior Scientist“ ausgezeichnet
DLR Senior Scientist award ceremony as part of the Science BBQ

The Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has appointed Prof. Dr. Hartmut Helmke as "DLR Senior Scientist". Prof. Helmke has been working at DLR since 1989 and has conducted intensive research into the use of speech understanding for air traffic control, particularly over the last 12 years.

Prof. Helmke was already involved in the use of artificial intelligence during his first work for DLR as part of the D2 space mission. Since completing his doctorate, he has taken on scientific management tasks for various topics in the controller assistance department (including approach planning, airport and cooperative air traffic management). Over the past 30 years, he has authored over 250 publications and several books and has been awarded numerous prizes from the FAA, EUROCONTROL, Ostfalia and the Digital Avionics Conference.

Over the past 12 years, Prof. Helmke has been instrumental in researching the topic of machine speech understanding in air traffic control. Various European air traffic control authorities and the European Union have been convinced by the experiments developed and conducted at the Institute that machine speech understanding in aviation is not only possible, but also brings quantifiable benefits. Studies have shown that the workload of air traffic controllers can be reduced as 30 times less manual input is required.

In addition, kerosene savings of up to 60 liters per approach have been demonstrated. The ontology for speech intelligibility developed by Prof. Helmke in cooperation with over 20 partners from Europe and the USA is currently being standardized by the European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE). His patents have been licensed to the company EML / Alfaview in a technology transfer. The technology of speech understanding will thus be transferred to operational use in air traffic control over the next few years.

The Institute of Flight Guidance congratulates Prof. Hartmut Helmke and thanks him for his services to aviation science.


Sebastian Schier-Morgenthal

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Flight Guidance
Controller Assistance
Lilienthalplatz 7, 38108 Braunschweig