Virtual airport to improve accessibility for passengers with access needs
Researchers at Cranfield University (UK) have recently presented a virtual airport to study and improve the air travel experience for passengers with additional mobility needs. According to the University statement, the virtual airport, one of the first of its kind, will be used to conduct research as part of the Passenger experience laboratory in the new Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC), currently under construction at Cranfield.
One of the first uses of the environment will be to help improve wayfinding and navigation provision for passengers with additional mobility needs, including those with unseen disabilities.
Dr Thomas Budd, Lecturer in Airport Planning and Management and Academic Lead of the Passenger experience laboratory, said: “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.”
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.