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In the BMBF research project (iport) one of the tasks was, how to ensure safe air traffic, and a reasonable workload for the air traffic controller (ATC). In this project it was the goal to find ways how to reduce the workload (and stress) for the ATC to allow secure air traffic, esp. at so-called huge HUB airports. The main task in this subproject was not to implement the technical equipment into the tower simulator but to get acceptance of the controllers presenting and interacting with the hard- and software.
To get a most accepted design the users (ATC) were implemented in the whole development process of the HMI (Jackson, 1980). To ensure a high usability for the future user, a user-centered design process accordant to ISO 9241-210 was applied. (Koenig, 2011)
Abbildung 1: Bildquelle: Hochschule Osnabrück
The idea was to bring most of the primary information ‘into the airfield‘. For this reason the idea to implement an augmented reality layer into the windows of the tower was born (head-up display). The concept ‘head-up display’, used in military equipment, mobile devices or luxury cars is well known. But there are three significant differences to the concept described here:
− in most cases the display size used for this headUp visualization is very tiny, it uses only a very small screen or area of the field of view
− the user is positioned in a very fixed defined area
− most of the information are static and not conjunct with ‘real’ information outside
Abbildung 2: Bildquelle: Hochschule Osnabrück
In this concept, the idea was:
− to use a large window screen of the future tower to present useful information to the ATCs
− conjunct the virtual information with the real outside information
− support the ‘flexible working position’ of the ATCs The reason for using the wide angle of view is based in the typical area the ATC is responsible for. The ATC has to observe and control the complete length of a runway system (up to 3 km and more). Because of the large amount of technical equipment the ATC moves at his desk from left to right about 1-1.5 m – called ‘flexible working position’. For this reason the ‘augmented reality’ display (AR display) had to have a huge size.
In generally it seems to be useful to implement AR-layer to an ATC workspace to reduce the workload, but an approximate transformation of ,monitorbased‘ HMI design is not useful and must be adapted in a lot of characteristics. The development of AR HMI design needs a lot more of research. It is much more connected to the work environment than conventional HMI – because in some aspects it is part of it. Due to the special workspace of AT controllers (distances between interaction units and view to the airfield and -space) the content of augmented interfaces must be designed very carefully.
Abbildung 3: Bildquelle: Hochschule Osnabrück
Jackson, T. F. (1980). System User Acceptance Thru System User Participation. Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer Application in Medical Care, 3, 1715-1721
König, C., Hofmann, T., Bruder, (2011), Application of usercentred design process according DIN EN ISO 9241-210 in air traffic control, Proceedings of IEA 2012, Recife, Brasil
ISO 9241-210 (2008): Ergonomics of human-system interaction - Part 210: Human-centred design process for interactive systems. Geneva: ISO.
Bergner, J., König, C., Hofmann, T., & Ebert, H. (2009). An Integrated Arrival and Departure Display for the Tower Controller. Proceedings of 9th AIAA Aviation Technology, Integration and Operations Conference, Hilton Head, SC, USA.
Prof. Dipl. Des. Thomas Hofmann
Studiengangsleitung . Industrial Design Hochschule Osnabrück Fakultät
Fakultät Ingenieurwissenschaften und Informatik
Phone +49 (0)541/969-2984