In short




2016-03-01 > 2018-02-28


EUR 1 072 910


EUR 949 160



Keeping an augmented eye on air traffic control

Controllers in airport towers rely on being able to see aircraft taxying, taking off and landing in order to manage them safely and efficiently. But when bad weather sets in, their visual situational awareness can be impaired, leading to a reduction in throughput. The results from the RETINA project are showing the promise that augmented reality holds for enhancing air traffic control operations, particularly in low-visibility conditions.

Using synthetic vision and augmented reality technologies, RETINA has developed a set of goggles through which controllers can see synthetic information overlaid on the actual “out-of-the-window” view.  With these goggles, the controller can have a heads-up view of the airport traffic, call sign and aircraft type, supplemented by additional information, such as wind velocity and direction, airport layout and runway status, even during low-visibility procedures.

From a technological perspective, RETINA investigated two different augmented reality systems: conformal head-up displays (to coincide with the tower windows) and see-through head-mounted displays.

For each augmented reality system, a proof-of-concept was implemented and validated in a laboratory environment by means of human-in-the loop real-time simulations where the external view was provided to the user through a high fidelity 4D model in an immersive environment that replicated the out-of-the tower view.

During the validation, both subjective qualitative information and objective quantitative data were collected and analysed to assess the RETINA concept. The results showed that the RETINA concept is a promising solution to improve the human performance in the control tower, increasing resiliency at airports to low visibility and preserving safety.


Improved situational awareness for controllers
Increased airport capacity and throughput
Improved flight punctuality and reduced emissions  

Project Members:  Alma Mater Studiorum Universita’ di Bologna (Coordinator), ENAV, CRIDA, Eurocontrol, Luciad, Consorzio SICTA - Sistemi Innovativi
per il Controllo del Traffico Aereo

Project Deliverables

699370_D1.1_State of Art and Initial Concept Requirements

699370_D2.1_Operational Concepts Description

699370_D4.1_Validation Plan

699370_D4.2_Operational Concepts Description Update

699370_D4.3_Validation Report

699370_D5.1_Exploitation and Dissemination Plan

This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 699370

European Union