Quintron was selected by NASA’s Ames Research Center (ARC) to supply a new Voice-over-IP (VoIP) communications system to support the ARC Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) — a research facility to investigate improved operational techniques for Air Traffic Control (ATC) operations. The AOL provides representative ATC personnel operating stations along with “pseudo-pilot” positions to complete the simulation environment. Both the ATC and pseudo-pilot positions will utilize the Quintron VoIP for communications, with overall system configuration managed by the simulation control personnel.
The system is based on Quintron’s standard DICES VoIP product, which uses client-server architecture ideally suited for the flexible requirements of the AOL operation. Several new features will be incorporated to meet more specific AOL needs, including multiple ATC operating screens for airplane and ground communications, two-channel audio paths to accurately simulate normal ATC operating procedures for headset versus speaker audio, and multiple user headset connections to provide for trainer operations at ATC user positions. The VoIP system also features workgroup voice path assignment, which provides for very low latency on network connections between the ATC operator positions.
The project is taking place in phases, with the initial delivery of system components completed six weeks after the award. Additional features will be incorporated as development work progresses. A substantial initial effort will be to incorporate a number of FAA-ATC features in support of a major customer simulation program. Final system feature updates, including interoperable VoIP links to other ARC simulation systems, is scheduled to be completed next month.
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