AUDIO to give cockpit vital airport situational data

A new demonstration project, funded by the European Union, aims to improve safety, efficiency and predictability of flights by increasing flight crew situational awareness while the aircraft is taxiing.

As part of the SESAR 2020 Integrated Airport Operations research project, the Airspace User Demonstration AUDIO (Airspace User supporting Demonstration of Integrated Airport Operations) has been launched.

Steffen Loth, coordinator of the AUDIO project at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), explained: “Promising new solutions for airport operators and air navigation service providers are almost ready for deployment at European airports. Pre-operational trials have shown safety and efficiency benefits of these new solutions. For an integrated approach to a modernised air transport, we need to go beyond these ground-based solutions, involve airlines as central partners and share available information between all stakeholders.”

Cockpit crews currently have access to information such as the digital layout of airports or a graphical representation of their own position through what is called the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) System. AUDIO proposes to provide additional data, traditionally available to controllers only.

In a real-life demonstration at Hamburg airport, AUDIO will demonstrate the viability of an innovative advanced and connected moving map application, developed under a previous EU funded project. The application provides the cockpit with local airport data such as the on-ground traffic situation and planned taxi routes.

Equipped with this additional information, onboard operations are expected to run smoother as crews are aware of the planned ground trajectory and the surrounding complex environment. This also allows them to react more easily to last-minute re-planning of routes once the aircraft is off-block.

The results: a safer sequence, a more reliable targeted take-off time, less complexity for the crew, more efficient taxiing and fewer emissions due to lower fuel consumption. AUDIO will also make sure that this innovative application is easily accepted by pilots, airlines, manufacturers and other stakeholders in the ATM community and prepare its market uptake.

AUDIO is being coordinated by DLR, which provides ground information, flight plan and route information collected by the Airport Research and Innovation platform (ARIF) in Hamburg, Germany. Deutsche Lufthansa will adapt the existing EFB solutions, oversee the demonstration at Hamburg Airport and evaluate them under real-life conditions. Norway-based SINTEF will provide the SESAR solutions to be used for the demonstration and French management consultancy ARTTIC will ensure the dissemination of the project’s results and achievements.

AUDIO is funded under the SESAR 2020 programme through a specific call within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 framework programme for Research & Innovation, specifically aiming to modernize the air traffic management system. A total of €1.06 million has been awarded to the consortium to run the project over two years