Cranfield University creates virtual airport to study and improve air travel for people with mobility needs
With more disabled people taking to the skies, researchers at Cranfield University have created a virtual airport to examine how the air travel experience can be enhanced for passengers with mobility needs.
One of the first of its kind, the virtual airport will be used to improve wayfinding and navigation provision for passengers with additional mobility needs, including those with unseen disabilities confirmed the university.
The 3D environment can be configured to replicate different design layouts, ambient conditions and levels of activity within a bespoke or simulated real-world airport, enabling the researchers to test and examine various simulations.
The project is part of Cranfield’s Passenger Experience Laboratory in its new £67 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC), currently under construction at the Bedfordshire-based university.
Dr Thomas Budd, Lecturer in Airport Planning and Management and Academic Lead of the Passenger Experience Laboratory, commented: “For passengers with additional mobility needs, navigating a busy airport can be an especially tiring and stressful experience.
“Using immersive technologies in this way enables us to experiment with different designs and new technologies to improve the passenger experience in a way that is safe, time and cost-efficient.”
In July 2019, the Civil Aviation Authority reported that there were a record 3.7 million requests for assistance at UK airports between the 1st April 2018 to the 31st March 2019 as more disabled people took to the sky.
Cranfield is working with Theia Immersive, a spin-out company from the Connected Places Catapult, which specialises in the use of immersive technology for designing inclusive and accessible spaces.
Michael Calver, Co-founder and CEO of Theia Immersive, said: “Immersive technology is set to help change the way in which spaces, places, products and services are designed, enabling designers to better consider the needs of each end-user.”
Dr Budd and Mr Calver recently presented their project at the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s Aviation XR Weekend in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.https://thiis.co.uk/cranfield-university-creates-virtual-airport-to-study-and-improve-air-travel-for-people-with-mobility-needs/https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/virtual-reality-airport-mobility-needs-cranfield.jpg?fit=900%2C506&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/virtual-reality-airport-mobility-needs-cranfield.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1NewsroomThird Sectorairline,airport,CAA,Civil Aviation Authority,Cranfield University,Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre,IATA,International Air Transport Association,Theia Immersive,virtual realityWith more disabled people taking to the skies, researchers at Cranfield University have created a virtual airport to examine how the air travel experience can be enhanced for passengers with mobility needs. One of the first of its kind, the virtual airport will be used to improve wayfinding and navigation...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine