Picture of Ecological Altitude Display for Tactical Air Traffic Control
MSc Assignments

Ecological Altitude Display for Tactical Air Traffic Control

Lead Researcher:Dr ir Clark Borst
Other specifications:Full time

The project

In this thesis assignment you will design an ecological interface prototype representing the altitude domain to support tactical air traffic controllers in the en-route environment. Our current ecological ATC tools for this environment allow us to represent the speed and heading domain by means of the Solution Space Diagram (SSD). The SSD therefore supports the controller in conflict detection and resolution (CD&R) in only two dimensions. To include a third dimension in tactical CD&R, we need to take into account altitude. In the past, several attempts have been made to integrate the altitude domain into the 2D SSD representation. Although they were successful in some ways, experiments showed that controllers experienced difficulty in interpreting the complex shapes of the conflict zones and how those relate to altitude. To circumvent these difficulties, a better alternative has yet to be discovered.

Your efforts

In this thesis project you will design a dedicated interface for altitude control that seamlessly integrates into the existing ATC simulator and tools. The basic idea for this interface will be an interactive altitude tape, showing for a controlled aircraft the constraints in altitude imposed by performance and traffic constraints. If time permits, a full-scale human-in-the-loop experiment needs to be conducted in the ATMLab to evaluate the interface prototype.


For this project, programming in Java (using OpenGL) is needed. Therefore, the student should have a high interest in learning to program. Of course it helps if the student already has some basic programming skills and experience. Note that the programming involves extending our existing tools and thus doesn’t involve creating everything from scratch!

Project outline

The first 3 months cover a preliminary graduation (Literature Study (AE4020), combined with the course Research Methodologies (AE4010)). During this phase you will perform a literature survey and “sketch” the prototype interface. The preliminary phase will be finalized with a presentation and report. In the remaining 6 months you will further develop, implement and evaluate your ideas as part of final thesis phase (AE5310).