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Remote Expert Support for Aircraft Maintenance

Objective

RESAM will develop and evaluate the usability of an information system for aircraft maintenance which will use advanced broadband communications to:

. offer a remote technician all the necessary expertise from a central technical service centre, where and when it is requested
. eventually, render most hardcopy or microfiche technical documentation superfluous
. enable a central technical service centre, acting as a remote partner, to take part in visual inspections
. enable a remote technician to request tutorial assistance for a particular job from a central video library provided by the aircraft operator or manufacturer.
The aim of the research was to develop and evaluate the usability of an information system for aircraft maintenance which will use advanced broadband communications to:
offer a remote technician all the necessary expertise from a central technical service centre, where and when it is requested;
render most hardcopy or microfiche technical documentation superfluous;
enable a central technical service centre, acting as a remote partner, to take part in visual inspections;
enable a remote technician to request tutorial assistance for a particular job from a central video library provided by the aircraft operator or manufacturer.

Key issues in the research included:
the definition of user requirements;
design of the information system including all types of data (ie voice, text, graphics, video, etc);
evaluation of the usability of the system.

The research has achieved the following results:
a survey of technologies to be used;
an analysis of user needs and system requirements;
the identification of application domains and system architecture;
setting up a test and development platform;
a system design incorporating conferencing and message handling, manufacturers manuals, multimedia databases, logical security, transmux control, connection handling, still pictures, video archives, system integration and user tests.
Technical Approach

The system will be based on interactive communications, allowing a group of two or more partners to be in simultaneous session with each other (a conferencing system). Integrated services will be defined employed, and evaluated in a number of business application areas with different communication needs. Information sources and destinations to be supported by the pilot include:

. databases containing documents consisting of text, structured data, graphics and images
. video libraries
. advanced mobile and stationary graphic workstations for display and processing of technical documents, still pictures and videos and with interfaces to video cameras and receivers, picture digitisers, special transducers, etc.

The system will have the ability to connect to a number of private corporate information systems, since part of the information to be exchanged in the application pilot will only be accessible from such sources. Privacy of the communication should be ensured: authentication control, encryption of information and other security issues are considered mandatory.

The RESAM project was divided into four phases. Phase I concentrating on user requirements, forming the basis for developing the RESAM pilot system design. Phase II focuses on defining and establishing the RESAM pilot system design, followed by Phase III on provisioning, implementation and testing of the pilot. Phase IV covers the evaluation and reporting of results and conclusions.

Key issues
. Definition of the user requirements.
. Design of the information system including all types of data; voice, text, graphics, video, etc.
. Evaluation of the usability of the system.

Achievements
The main achievements are:

. Survey of technologies to be used in RESAM.
. Analysis of user needs and system requirements.
. Identification of application domains and system architecture.
. Setting up test and development platform.
. System design incorporating: conferencing and message handling, manufacturers manuals, multimedia databases, logical security, transmux control, connection handling, still pictures, video archives, system integration, user tests.
. Evaluation of effectiveness.

These results have been documented in a number of internal reports and deliverables. These include, from Phase II, internal design documents prepared as a basis for the implementation work and from Phase III, an Implementation Plan giving details of the development, test and integration of all the RESAM components in the pilot.

In Phase IV, (late 1991) user test and evaluation took place. International testing of communication links met some difficulties in terms of required facilities. A last-minute change of site from Frankfurt to Gothenburg, Sweden enabled the user field trials to be completed in December 1991.

The final evaluation reporting from the RESAM project will be available at the end of February 1992.

Expected Impact
The project should demonstrate how the efficiency of aircraft maintenance could be improved and how the very costly immobilisation time of aircraft on the ground could be reduced through the use of a broadband communications network.

Coordinator

SAS Denmark
Address
Copenhagen Airport - Po Box 150
2770 Kastrup
Denmark

Participants (3)

Fokker Aircraft BV
Netherlands
Kjobenhavns Telefon Aktieselskab
Denmark
Philips Kommunikations Industrie AG
Germany
Address
Thurn-und-taxis-straße 10
90411 Nürnberg