During the ATCA Global event Air Traffic Management Magazine had the opportunity to meet with Adacel and give their virtual reality training program a try. Currently it seems that there still needs to be some market education for customers to be asking for this type of technology, but once students have a chance to try it the perception is positive.
Today’s ATCOs expect a digital experience similar to those they experience in their personal life. There’s a perception problem in our industry that needs to be addressed that tools are old fashioned. Modern training programs will help to entice and retain the interest of younger ATCO candidates. A virtual reality solution has been shown to increase retention and lower costs as opposed to 360-degree simulators. Built on an EPIC gaming engine, the appeal increases for new trainees.
The MVP is about a year away, as this is still at the concept phase. It’s a mixed and augmented reality solution that provides an immersive experience with interface to today’s standard equipment. It includes eye tracking to understand where the trainee is focusing and take actions based on what you are viewing.
I got try it and have to say it was impressive. There was a night vision and daytime option, scenarios for civilian and military. You were able to see how you were using your hands without being physically connected to the screens and you could zoom in on an aircraft for further details about them.
A few visuals to help imagine the experience are provided below. I look forward to seeing this product evolve over the next twelve months.