Panoramic Displays: The Next Generation of Fighter Aircraft Cockpits 2011-01-2526
Since about 10 years the trend in aviation cockpit design is toward an increasing display area and a smaller number of individual displays at the same time. Modern display technology even allows building displays which are able to cover the area of the entire main instrument panel of a fighter cockpit. The application of large area displays offers the advantage to largely improve the situation of the pilot by augmenting his situation awareness, thus enhancing his operational capability. A display that provides a large display area (panoramic display) could not only be used to show a bigger amount of information but also to indicate this information in a more detailed manner at the same time and it also offers the chance to combine information thus supporting the generation of a mental model of the situation.
The introduction of a panoramic display in an aircraft cockpit, however, has to be initiated by conceptual work aiming to find the optimum way to both utilise the large display area and interact with the device. We therefore developed a display and control concept for the panoramic display and began to investigate the potential benefits of such a big screen. Our work comprises the evaluation of the pilot's situation awareness and workload in an operative simulation environment, considering his needs and situational impacts. In that context we explored potential ways to interact with such a display in order to identify the most promising control method(s).
The present report summarises our conceptual work on panoramic displays, the methodology we applied and the results of the usability study on interaction methods. It describes also our way ahead regarding the measurement of situation awareness. Further studies shall prove that panoramic displays can in fact contribute to improve the performance of the entire system by supporting the pilot's process to build a proper mental model of the situation.