Augmented Weather Interfaces Project (AWIP)

During the performance of Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS) Project 4 supported by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) WTIC Program Office, the project team has been able to define and address important KSA and information presentation / interface gaps associated with the exchange of weather information to general aviation (GA) pilots. The team has conducted applied research on information presentation notifications to support improved pilot weather situation awareness, and tools to help pilots understand challenges of evaluating degrading weather. One result of this work was the successful development and demonstration of prototypes such as the WeatherXplore app. WeatherXplore is an “augmented reality” software tool for providing animated and video weather information augmentations for aviation circulars and weather textbook references. Another area of improvement, in cooperation with FAA staff working in the Alaska airspace, is the development of improved automation and interface support for Pilot Report (PIREP) generation and dissemination using multimodal interfaces (including speech and other tools to minimize manual input of coded PIREP fields). These improvements to PIREP generation and dissemination represent a second version of “augmentation,” in the sense of increased capabilities for improved pilot access and usability of PIREP tools to increase system availability. Based on successful demonstrations of Project 4 deliverables, there have been requests for additional development of capabilities to support GA pilot interactions with weather information. In addition, the FAA WTIC Program Office and PEGASAS researchers have identified additional FAA resources commercial companies with experience and technology focusing on digital information architectures for multimedia aviation documentation. This PEGASAS Project 33 proposal references the two types of “augmentation” (augmented reality; improved multimodal interfaces) addressed in the Project, and is known as the Augmented Weather Interfaces Project (AWIP). The proposed AWIP effort includes two phases of activity, and runs from May 1, 2019 – June 30, 2021. Participants include PEGASAS researchers from Purdue University (lead), Florida Institute of Technology (FIT); Georgia Institute of Technology (GaTech), Iowa State University (ISU), and Western Michigan University (WMU). The goals for this project include development, evaluation, and dissemination of recommendations for weather information presentation, knowledge development and coordination, and dissemination of recent weather information relevant to the GA pilot community. Based on past technology development, pilot instructor interaction, and applied research results, the overview of proposed activity is as follows: AWIP Overview: Provide minimum weather service recommendations, research data and functional prototypes for demonstration to industry regarding: (1) evolve augmented animation support for dynamic weather information content to support GA pilot knowledge, skills and abilities; (2) improve GA pilot abilities to generate and disseminate pilot reports (PIREPs), including the use of automated generation and non-typing interface interactions; (3) assess and calibrate pilot trust in creating PIREPs using automated and non-typing capabilities during dynamic and uncertain weather conditions; and (4) enable stable and scalable information architectures to support augmented interface designs information access using industry partnerships.