Controllers identify vertical separation in aircraft depicted on 2-D radar displays by calculating altitude from numerical values. This is used to create a 3-D mental image to determine vertical spacing; a mentally fatiguing practice. Current stereoscopic display technology exists that may allow reduction of this aspect of controller workload. With a near doubling of traffic expected within the next two decades (FAA, 2012), controllers’ abilities to rapidly interpret spacing and maintain awareness will become increasingly imperative to safety. A stereoscopic radar simulator was developed and field-tested with 35 USAF controllers. It presented a top-down view, similar to traditional radar displays, however, altitude was depicted through stereoscopic disparity, permitting vertical separation to be viewed, rather than calculated.
Russi, J. G.,
Langhals, B. T.,
Miller, M. E.,
& Heft, E.
(2013). The Effects of Stereoscopic Radar Displays on Air Traffic Controller Performance. 17th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 317-322.