Tower controllers are responsible for maintaining safe separation between airborne aircraft in the airport traffic control area, and separation between aircraft, equipment, and personnel on the airport surface. In this paper, we summarize recent work to develop and evaluate user-acceptable hardware and software solutions that will reduce diversions and augment or enhance controller capabilities, especially in limited visibility conditions. We characterized controller tasks where a near-to-eye display and augmented reality techniques can aid controller performance, and identified form factor variables that influence user acceptability of hardware configurations. We developed an out-the-window concept of operation and analyzed the hardware requirements and feasibility of three near-to-eye viewing systems: two head-mounted monocular displays and a held-to-head binocular display. When fully developed, these display systems should enhance tower controller situation awareness, and reduce such distractions as having to frequently attend to and respond to head-down (console) display information. There are potential users of this display system concept in all branches of the military services and in the commercial sector, and potential utility for surface surveillance operations in support of homeland security, law enforcement, search and rescue, firefighting, and special operations.
Ruffner, D. W.,
Fulbrook, D. E.,
& Foglia, M.
(2005). Near-To-Eye Display and Augmented Reality Concepts for Air Traffic Tower Controllers: Issues and Challenges. 2005 International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 659-664.