Bologna Airport 3D modelling for the exploration of the virtual tower concept in ATC
Tutor / director / evaluatorBarrado Muxí, Cristina
Document typeBachelor thesis
Rights accessRestricted access - confidentiality agreement
The Air Traffic Management consists of a set of services aiming primarily at ensuring the safety of the flights. Those services are provided by various systems (people, process & technology) that separate aircraft, prevent collisions, organise and expedite the flows of traffic and also provide information. Just in Europe the ATM services are provided by more than 30 Providers, employing about 20000 controllers in 80 Control Centres, on 500 Airports, and managing daily over 30000 flights. The evolution of the number of passengers, i.e. flights, is noticeable and seems to be growing even more in the next years. This growth is related with Europe economical growth and its tendency is positive. Due to its high demand, the environment of the aerial transportation requires technological changes in order to sustain our social needs. One of the aspects that urges to improve is efficiency of the air traffic management process. This urge has led to important efforts in designing automation systems for air traffic control (ATC) with the objective of increasing the capacity and safety. The ATC system is the responsible of maintaining an organized and secure flow of aircraft. During good visibility conditions, the air tower controllers may clear aircraft to make a visual landing under tower control supervision. Pilots assume responsibility for separating themselves from other aircraft, with the controllers in contact to warn them to deviate in case of a potential conflict. During times of poor visibility, the ATC team retains responsibility for separating the aircraft on final approach. Therefore, a critical responsibility relies on the ATC team. Poor visibility conditions occur during periods of adverse weather, such as fog, snow, rain, smoke, dust or any other type of environmental occlusion. Controllers at airports must work under low visibility procedures, which allow airport operations to continue safely and cover the procedures of approach, ground movement and departures. As a result, the spacing on approach is increased, because like this aircraft can land and clear the runway before other aircraft are given landing permission. More widely spacing is necessary too when manoeuvring or taxiing during both arrivals or departures. All of this means that fewer aircraft can land or depart within a given time, causing delays, and consequently, a reduction in the capacity of the airport. Poor visibility conditions are a factor to take into account. New systems pursuing improved safety, resilience and maintenance of capacity during poor visibility conditions are required and this is where augmented reality (AR) enters at stake. AR consists on overlapping computer generated objects with the aim of augmenting and increasing the perception of the environment for the users, in this case, the ATC. Like this, the users can visualize what they cannot see due to weather conditions and thus, maintain safety and capacity. Additional data of the aircraft that is not found on the environment can be given too, like wake vortex information, trajectory data, ground unexpected objects... The ATC team may be equipped with other wearable devices too in order to enhance their perception in the AR. There are explorative research projects concerning this framework in SESAR JU in order to explore and advance in the concept of AR devices in the control tower, such as the RETINA project: Resilient Synthetic Vision for Advanced Control Tower Air Navigation Service Provision. To deepen in this topic, a basic simulation project has to be done to explain and prove this, so a 3D model prototype is required and that is what this thesis tries to support, because with this analysis it is pursued that the tasks of the ATC team become weather-independent.