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AD4: 4D Virtual Airspace Management System

Exploitable results

A model-driven architecture (MDA) tool chain has been produced for the rapid model-based development of CORBA CCM-based security-critical software systems based on secure middleware. The tool chain supports a platform independent modelling of systems, there is no need to model, e.g., platform-specific data types, or to decide early in the development process which particular platform to use. By using transformers, platform-independent models (PIMs) can be automatically transformed into platform-specific models (PSMs) which then can be used for further steps (e.g. IDL, C++ code or PDL generation). The tool chain supports also the reverse engineering process. Reverse engineering allows the user to import existing code from a variety of code languages into a UML model. That means that imported into the tool chain IDL and CIDL notation of CCM components can be transformed into PSMs and further into PIMs. The tool chain is composed of a set of modelling and other development tools with adaptations to additionally support the security aspects. Secure middleware developed in AD4 is composed of MICO (a CORBA ORB with improved support for security), QEDO (a CORBA Component Model implementation with enhanced quality of service support), OpenPMF (a policy management framework), ObjectWall (a IOP Proxy for firewall traversal and domain boundary protection).
The AD4 project has demonstrated the possible exploitation of three-dimensional (3D) Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR) technologies in the air traffic control (ATC) context to support innovative human machine interfaces (HMI) aimed at improving controllers local situation awareness in specific scenarios. The purpose of the AR D4 demonstrator was to prove applicability of the AR visualisation technology in the development of an HMI for tower controllers, while taking into account some of the main 3D/4D visual concepts that derive from the needs of the operational scenarios identified in the AD4 project. Those 3D/4D concepts are partially revisited and utilised for the AR HMI, which thus appears to be strictly related to the D3-based tower HMI. The capabilities of the demonstrator are mainly focused on visualisation, rather than interaction; indeed, AR provides a way to visually augment the real world perceived by the controller with synthetic 3D elements generated by the system. 3D synthetic (virtual) objects are rendered and displayed in a perspective view, which is overlapped to the real one, according to the real viewpoint and field of view of the user. Augmentation consists not only in representing the 3D models of real objects (e.g. to replicate a wire-frame 3D aircraft or building on top of the real ones), but also in introducing new elements, such as aircraft labels or time-related four-dimensional (4D: 3D space and time) visual elements (e.g. future position of aircraft, acceleration etc.) that can provide additional information to the user about the real scene being observed.
The AD4 project has developed a three-dimension (3D) air situation display (3D radar picture) based on the representation of visual elements within a purely synthetic 3D virtual environment. Such virtual environment provides a 3D perspective display of the air traffic control (ATC) sector. The implementation of such 3D Virtual Environment is based on a 3D framework, called D3 (D-cube) developed by NEXT in a national research project. Such framework has been successfully enhanced and tailored to the ATC domain in the course of the AD4 project. More specifically, D3 is a 3D Virtual Reality system for real time visual representation and manipulation of heterogeneous geo-referenced data such as digital elevation model (DEM), meteorological data (clouds, pressure and wind fields), telemetry data, global navigation satellite system (GNSS) data, surveillance data (radar tracks) and flight plan data. D3 framework is capable of both 3D visualisation and 3D navigation. 3D visualisation results from the integration of heterogeneous data, structured into layers. Throughput and elaboration limitations are overcome by a scalable and distributed architecture. 3D navigation is allowed by the use of both specific (3D mouse, a six degrees of freedom device) and standard (classical mouse) input devices. A test-bed to experiment with and validate the use of 3D/4D displays in the air traffic management (ATM) domain has been constructed by the integration with well known and consolidated simulation platforms in the ATC domain, like Eurocontrol 'Escape' and Vitrociset ATRES. Such integrated environment has been successfully used to evaluate the most relevant 4D human-machine interface (HMI) concept and representations by real-time human-in-the-loop simulations with the involvement of controllers and simulation of the operational ATC environment. Interoperability with external systems has been a targeted objective of the projects, achieved by the supports of standard exchange formats (e.g. Asterix) and CORBA IDL interfaces for the ATC domain (e.g. Avenue).