For human beings it is taken for granted, for a technical system not implemented so far: the possibility to listen to the conversation of other people and derive activities from the understood contents. The project AcListant (Active Listening Assistant) is going to implement a prototype for understanding the controller-pilot-communication.

Introduction “What is AcListant” (MP4-Video)

The successor project AcListant-Strips started in May 2015. AcListant-Strips uses Assistant Based Speech Recognition (ABSR) as an additional input device to replace mouse and keyboard inputs in order to reduce controller workload and to increase aircraft throughput.

43 participants (4 ANSPs, 4 ATC suppliers) from 8 different countries met in Braunschweig in June 2014.  So far developed results were presented and showed remarkable benefits for the air traffic controllers, e.g.:

  • With Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) a classical AMAN will change from a reactive to an active system.
  • If ASR fails to recognize a given controller command, then the pilot may also misunderstand the controller.  Therefore, ASR will enhance safety.
  • ASR enables to represent voice utterances in digital form in the assistant system, permitting different monitoring, warning and support applications

Please see the results of the second workshop for further information or directly contact the project manager.

Currently deployed special purpose decision support tools (DST) for the approach traffic, better known as AMANs, intend to propose optimized sequences of inbound traffic and generate guidance advisories for efficient approaches. Information about deviations from the planned sequence is exchanged between controller and pilot via radio communication. The AMAN learns about these intentions only by changes in the track of the aircraft shown to the controller on the radar screen with a delay of about 30 seconds. The planning algorithm of the AMAN is therefore not timely updated.

The project AcListant will show for a specific airport and its airspace, how to avoid this delay by analyzing the controller-pilot-communication and using the gained information as additional sensor (red arrow in the figure). The improvement of the DST is achieved by extending it with a speech recognition facility.