PERIOD 4 months - Mars to June 2016
SKILLS UX design, Animation
Pilots are highly trained, but ‘pilot error’ is still one of the most frequently cited reasons for an incident.
In order to continuously improve safety through pilots environment awareness, Airbus is interested in weather representations that help the pilot or the dispatcher to better understand the environment with regard to its own aircraft trajectory.
The goal of this project is to answer the issues related to aircraft trajectory and awareness of the meteorological environment, while including sensible aspect based on semiotics that make sense to the user who can be a pilot or a dispatcher.
Aeronautical world is really complex, so we had to learn all the meteorological phenomenons and specifications of it. We also met and talked with aeronautic specialists about a pilot typical day; from the preparation of the flight to the landing.
Thanks to these observations, we built journey map and personas. It helped us to identified needs and problems, one of them was the lack of communication during the flight between the pilots/pilots and pilots/dispatcher.
Could we improve flight safety by enhancing pilots communication?
Once we finished our meeting with the specialists, we started learning all the aeronautical "languages", we looked for existing solutions, and inspirations.
The main challenge of this project is also to define new ways to represent datas such as weather informations and communication specifications. Airbus think safety could be improved by exploring new ways of interaction and communication in the cockpit.
We had the opportunity to talk with the client several times. Each time, we learned new things and we improved our solution.
While we worked on our journey map, we observed 2 weak points:
- Pilots need to learn everything about the flight at the beginning of the day because there is no forecast update while they are flying (all the informations are on paper).
- Communication between the pilots and the dispatcher is occasional and could be improved.
Our concept is an app that enhance the communication between the pilots but also with the dispatcher.
Because the forecast is never updated during the flight, and because the communication is not optimized, our solution allows the pilots to warn others pilots about the meteorological phenomenoms they went through. This way, pilots will flight safely and be aware of the potential hazards.
The only constraint we had was to work on a tablet size. Otherwise we had "carte blanche". Our several meetings allowed us to iterate a lot. We refined our solution 3 times until the end of the project.
Our first version contained too much useless informations for the pilot and we were "too far" from our concept.
On this version, we focused more on communication between pilots and new way to represent issues or weather hazards.
We mostly needed to change the visual design and improve the contrast.
Airbus members were delighted with this version, and this interface "could definitely be the real one in the future" (from the UX lead of Airbus).
We created screen animations for the final presentation to show the interactions, ways to prevent accidents and improve flight safety.
The pilot can follow his flight plan and check the hazards between the waypoints. At the bottom right, you can see the 2 main ways of interaction: alert the others pilot of a danger and ask for a new road.
To avoid any hazard on the road, the pilot can ask a new road to the dispatcher by adding a new waypoint.
If the pilot is getting through a hazard, he can send an alert to the other pilots by adding an aeronautical icon to the map.
The dispatcher can check all his flights from this screen, checking their position, if they are encountering a danger and propose a new road to the pilots.
This project was rewarding because we learned uncommon things thanks to Airbus.
Concerning the result, our solution helped the UX team of Airbus France to find new ideas and ways to improve the flights safety.