Picture of Haptic Tunnel-in-the-Sky for Increasing Task-Sharing Performance
MSc Assignments

Haptic Tunnel-in-the-Sky for Increasing Task-Sharing Performance

Requirements:Evaluation study
Lead Researcher:Dr ir Clark Borst
Other specifications:Full time

The project

In this thesis assignment you will develop a haptic interface to support pilots in both path-following performance and reducing their head-down time. For noise abatement procedures it is required that aircraft can follow complex curved approach trajectories with high precision. One possible solution to support pilots in such a task is a Tunnel-in-the-Sky (TIS) display, which is increasingly more found in advanced avionics for general aviation. Despite their demonstrated success in path-following performance, pilot attention is often too much focused on the display. This can result in “cognitive tunneling”, which would hinder pilots in dividing their attention across other necessary tasks in the approach phase, such as communication, system monitoring, and looking outside the window. Would it be possible to reduce the head-down time of pilots, and increase the divided attention, if we add force feedback to the control inceptor as a means to increase task-sharing performance while maintaining a high tracking performance? Or would such a solution only increase the head-down time, because cues are unclear without a visual reference to the virtual tunnel?

Your efforts

In this project you will augment the existing TIS display and simulation software by adding force feedback to the control inceptor in order to make navigational constraints tangible. In the creation of this haptic cueing system you can rely on experience gained in previous research conducted in the automotive domain. Finally, by means of a controlled human-in-the-loop experiment in SIMONA or the HMILab you need to analyze if the haptic cueing system helps to increase task-sharing performance. This may require an eye-tracker to measure and analyze visual attention patterns.


For this project, programming in C++ 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 design the requirements for the haptic cueing system. The preliminary phase will be finalized with a presentation and report. In the remaining 6 months you will further develop, implement and evaluate your concept as part of final thesis phase (AE5310).