A successful first Demo Day for the HAAWAII project in Reykjavik

The first HAAWAII demo day took place in Reykjavik on 5th and 6th of May 2022. It was hosted by Isavia ANS. In total, more than 100 attendees used the opportunity to discuss first project results with the HAAWAII team. 25 people attended the demo day in person in Reykjavik the rest joined the event virtually.

Besides the PowerPoint presentations, which provided insides in different aspects of the project, the live demonstration of the Readback-Error-Detection-Assistant (REDA) was one of the highlights. Surveillance data recorded in August 2020 together with corresponding voice data from air traffic controllers and pilots was given as input for the speech recognition and understanding system. The system than performed immediate live recognitions based on the given input, i.e. while the air traffic controller or pilot was still speaking, the system already provided intermediate outputs like the recognized callsign, which was then already highlighted on the HMI and the recognized commands were shown directly in the aircraft radar label.

Pilot voice recognition and its understanding was shown for the first time, which was integrated into the Readback-Error-Detection-Assistant. The readback of the pilot was checked against the air traffic controller instructions and the results were shown in the radar label as “readback OK”, “readback error”, “missing readback” etc.

The audience asked, whether the system can only recognize pre-recorded utterances of Icelandic speakers or whether it is speaker-independent. After a short discussion, the HAAWAII team promised another demonstration on the next day. The Readback-Error-Detection-Assistant system was now connected to a microphone. More than 10 speakers from the audience tested the system with their voices, i.e. different accents, phraseology deviations and mispronunciations were tested.

The audience was impressed from the performance. The system is robust against accents, phraseology deviations and so on. The correct callsign is also highlighted, if only parts of the callsigns are understood or when the callsign is abbreviated: “speed bird two alfa” or “three two alfa” instead of “speed bird bravo three two alfa”.

Besides the demos, the HAAWAII team presented the already available proof-of-concept results and gave a look “under the hood”, presenting technical details.

Additionally, three projects were presented which already now use results from the HAAWAII project. Last, but not least, the HAAWAII team presented, how to adapt the HAAWAII system to new airports, e.g. to Charles to Gaulle or Budapest. The last presentation was given by Olivia Nunez from the SJU. She addressed the transfer of the project results from exploratory to industrial research, especially in the context of the upcoming call of SESAR-3.

The HAAWAII team plans a second demo day at the facilities of  NATS in Fareham/Southampton (UK) from 27th to 28th of September 2022. Save the date “Remember September”. Additionally Isavia ANS plans a shadow mode demonstration, i.e. to connect the system directly to the surveillance data and voice data in the ops room environment before the end of the year.