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Speech recognition features desired by air traffic controllers, such as the ability to use complex messages and address hundreds of individual aircraft could not be implemented a decade ago, but these tasks became possible with improved speech recognition engines and an increase in processing power and memory. Speech recognition was a key element in the air traffic controller (ATC) workstation used to support a Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) system. Our work, under the direction of the Avionics Engineering Center at Ohio University, was in support of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Runway Incursion Reduction Program (RIRP) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Runway Incursion Prevention System (RIPS) conducted at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). This paper examines the challenges and opportunities of developing voice recognition software solutions in ATC workstations using multiple dialects and accents, complex and varied grammars and terminology, accuracy, hardware restrictions, and user-training procedures.
Date of Publication: Nov 2002