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Active Simulator Cockpit Enhancement

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ASCENT (Active Simulator Cockpit Enhancement)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2019-05-31

The main ambition of the project is to create a complete cockpit simulation system able to reduce the number of hours and risks of the flight test environment
The training must be as close to reality as possible, forming not only as how to pilot a plane but also in how to deal with possible emergencies that may occur during flight and solve these with a quick and accurate response that can save many lives
Advance in the knowledge of the pilots reaction under stress situations is something essential to achieve good quality training. The use of different non-invasive sensors, monitoring, and even the ability to take control from the ground station in case of emergency is one of most important goals to get in this project
Create an Active Cockpit Simulator capable of measuring stress levels of pilots, eye tracking in order to know the areas the pilots look at during an emergency situation, could be a significant step forward for improving the training of pilots, having a greater knowledge of their reactions so as to obtain sufficient data for instructors may have more information and to give an individualized training
The objectives of the ASCENT project are:
• Design a lighting system being able to emulate the parallel light of the sun
• Verify & validate the Light Weight Pilot Eye Visor technologies close to operational conditions
• Develop a more intuitive and natural cockpit by means of integrating into the cabin of multitouch panels instead of the classical displays and controls
• Have new data acquisition and processing pilot monitoring system and develop new concept for pilot monitoring
• Acquire a 3D real sound mapping from an representative aircraft and reproducing, closer as possible to the reality, inside the active cockpit environment
• Capability of testing other technologies in the Active cockpit close to the reality
• Reduction on the training times
The Illumination System simulates the sun behavior and sun rays incidence during a flight permitting to dazzle the pilots when the sun appears in their visual field. A total number of 8 LED spotlights will be installed in the lighting system. This devices will be surrounding the projection domo, supported by a aluminum structure based on commercial truss modules.
SerTec has finished the design phase of the simulator cockpit and its systems. This cockpit represents with a high level of fidelity the distribution and dimensions of all the support structures allocated inside a representative cabin.
Structures have been modified in order to receive the multitouch panels instead the real flight instrumentation, but always respecting its position and dimensions.
All the monitors installed are 4K monitors, that will deliver ultra-high-definition for graphics representations.
Regarding the virtual panels software development, all the virtual panels located in the consoles have been developed by SerTec staff during this Reporting Period.
The results of this work are virtual panels displayed in a 4K multitouch monitor you can interact with their elements (knobs, dials,...) just touching the screen surface sending a command to the simulator host and the feedback in a similar way as the real aircraft panels.
The measurement of the psychological parameters is implemented by the development works during this period of an Eye Tracker and Face analysis system capable to senses the interior of the cabin and in particular the Pilots. The resulting information will feed the Pilot Status Analysis software which generates a personalised model about the current state of the Pilot in terms of distraction, fatigue, stress and abnormal behavior. The system is able to calculate the gaze direction and determine the panel the pilot is looking at in real time.
The measurement of the physiological parameters will be done through the Smart Seats system developed by Nottingham Trent University. The pilot and copilot seats are cover by a special textile layer with embedded sensors in the yarns that in contact with the body can extract data as heart rate, moisture and temperature.
The communication protocol selected to transmit the signals coming from the Smart Seats is LiFi Technology. From the initial steps of the project, several studies of this technology have been carried out, investigating the different development kit of the markets, and selecting the most appropriate to be used inside ASCENT cockpit.
SerTec has carried out several connectivity test to check the feasibility of the LiFi communication and the results obtained have been quite promising.
WP4 will develop, implement and validate a 3D sound environment for the active cockpit simulation that is representative of a regional aircraft. Paragon’s Artificial Intelligence Sound Active Control system identifies and generates the optimal cancellation signal from pilot perception, which is almost identical to the real signal but with opposite phase, and will in turn be used in the active cockpit simulator.
The works performed by Paragon during this period are:
-The definition and design of the sound system
-Sound system hardware components & architecture
-Sound system software components & architecture
The Digital Audio Workstation software, a main component of the overall sound system application, has been installed and successfully tested at Paragon on audio server with all hardware.
The design implementation and test of a complete innovative systems to recreate the sun rays effects will allow us to test vision related devices at realistic level.
The advance virtual panels will with no doubt taken aviation to the next level of glass cockpit solution.
By means of multiple non intrusive health monitoring sensors, we pretend to use the data from flight test to achieve at least a percentage of realism in the human behaviour while interfacing with new systems that could take us to unknown situations while flying developing new techniques applied to pilot monitoring.
Introduction of LiFi communication, and study of its viability in the simulation to be tested prior jump installation in a real aircraft is another step ahead of the ASCENT project.
Sound as important part of the real flight environment have been badly implemented in the past. This is where our project implies a step forward in what have been done in the past, sound effect is not only the measurement of the sound is the measurement of the perception of comfort from the point of view of the user, and comfort implies sound and perceived and non perceived vibrations.
The use of different non-invasive sensors to inform in real time of the pilots´status to the ground station in case of emergency is one of most important goals to get in this project. ASCENT Simulator will be capable of measuring stress levels of pilots, eye tracking in order to know the areas the pilots look at during an emergency situation, could be a significant step forward for improving the training of pilots, having a greater knowledge of their reactions.
The expected impacts are:
-Collect pilot information to anticipate possible risk situations.
-Enhance the simulation experience level to be closer to the reality
-This system should produce a reduction of fatal incidents during flight, as the crew is better trained against over workloads situations
- Create systems that could be reused in other simulators
-Test different technologies in a real flight condition environment