Leading the way on augmenting air traffic control

15 February 2018

The initial results from the SESAR-funded exploratory research project: Resilient Synthetic Vision for Advanced Control Tower Air Navigation Service Provision (RETINA), are showing the promise that augmented reality holds for enhancing air traffic control operations, particularly in low-visibility conditions.

EUROCONTROL was among the partners who validated together with the University of Bologna and ENAV, the RETINA concept last week in Forli, Italy.

Built upon technology developed by SESAR, RETINA, aims at enhancing sight capabilities and situational awareness of air traffic controllers in control towers, allowing them to better manage traffic especially when bad weather sets in.

It does so by means of synthetic vision and augmented reality technologies, in the form of see-through, head-mounted displays over the actual 'out-of-the-window' view.  

Using RETINA the air traffic controller can have a head-up view of the airport traffic, including information such as wind velocity and direction, airport layout and runway status, even during low visibility procedures.

Sara Bagassi, RETINA Project Coordinator and Assistant Professor in aerospace structures and design at the University of Bologna, commented during the testing: “We strongly believe that this technology will evolve in such a way that it will become accessible for other ATM applications in the coming years.”

EUROCONTROL participated in the elaboration and validation of the RETINA concept and continues to provide its technical and operational expertise in airport-related and remote tower technology.

This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 699370.

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