The ACROSS project's structure

The three high-level objectives of ACROSS address flight crew issues impacting air traffic safety, so the ACROSS approach must focus on human factors with a crew-oriented view.


During the development and implementation of ACROSS, inputs and outputs from all the work packages will be organised into to three main project steps.

Step 1: guidelines
In the first step of the project, global requirements for the project work will be defined and validation objectives and criteria will be set.

Transverse work packages on architecture, human factors, safety, regulation, certification and validation will define initial guidelines, manage common issues, ensure consistency and prepare the next steps in the technical and operational implementation roadmaps.

The External Experts Advisory Group (EEAG) will be part of Step 1 actions, to guide the work on requirements and initial guidelines and provide the ACROSS team with relevant support from pilots, controllers and other key stakeholders.

Finally, the EEAG will help select a set of scenarios based on past incidents and/or accidents. These scenarios will be used to illustrate the ACROSS systems potential added value and complement formal assessment results.

Step 2: applications
The second step of the project will set up the specification, development, implementation and evaluation of ACROSS functions and technologies in a coherent set of work packages and demonstrations.

These work packages have been defined with a view to assess and evaluate the new functionalities and operating models developed by the project.

The organisation of activities per work package is based on the “Golden Rules” breakdown of crew activities (Aviate, Navigate, Communicate and Manage), complemented with ACROSS-specific Crew Monitoring and Incapacitated Crew pillars.

Each work package will set up a representative evaluation environment. The adoption of the validation framework defined in Step 1 will ensure that evaluations are homogenous and consistent across work packages and that evaluation results can be integrated in Step 3.

Step 3: evaluation
Finally, the third step of the project will address the consolidation of evaluation activities, the integration of validation results and the integration of developments in a virtual reality environment.

Recommendations for future work and possible ways forward will be proposed, together with roadmaps for the exploitation of ACROSS results.



The Human Factors focus is reflected in the structure of the project, which identifies 6 main pillars. The first four pillars focus on the tasks which determine the crew’s workload at any time. The remaining two pillars focus on technologies which can help evaluate the crew’s workload at any time, as well as replacing the crew in the most extreme cases.

1. Aviate. The PF (pilot flying) is responsible for the control and flight handling of the aircraft (controlling and/or monitoring the pitch attitude, bank angle, airspeed, thrust, sideslip, heading, etc.) as such his/her concentration is focussed on capturing and maintaining the desired targets, vertical flight path and lateral flight path. The PNF (pilot non flying) must support the first pilot by monitoring flight parameters and by calling any excessive deviation.

2. Navigate and Manage Mission. Pilots must select the desired modes for vertical navigation and lateral navigation, being aware of the terrain and minimum safe altitudes. This rule can be summarized by the following four “know where…” statements of situational-awareness:

  • Know where you are;
  • Know where you should be;
  • Know where the terrain and obstacles are;
  • Know how you will be going to your next intended waypoint.

3. Communicate. Effective crew communication involves communication between the cockpit crew members, with Air Traffic Control, with the cabin crew (if applicable) and with the Operation Control Centre. The focus of communication in ACROSS is on two key areas, firstly easing the use of flight deck communication systems and secondly on air-ground communication. A particular focus will be on future data-centric ATC communication and on providing a data link to a ground station for provision of support in case of crew incapacitation.

Following an abnormal or emergency situation, the flying cockpit crew member should inform air traffic controllers and the rest of the flight crew of the prevailing situation and of his/her intentions. This should occur when a stable flight path has been regained, the abnormal or emergency conditions have been identified, (partly) solved and the new status and duration of the flight have been determined, including any strategic decisions being taken.

4. Manage Systems. Managing the continuation of the flight is the next priority. This includes:

  • - Managing aircraft systems (fuel management, diversion management, etc);
  • - Performing applicable emergency and/or abnormal procedure(s), after a stable flight path has been regained and the abnormal or emergency condition has been identified, (partly) solved and the status and consequences for the rest of the flight have been determined with strategic decisions also taken.

5. Crew monitoring. Today, in a multi-crew environment, the flight crew monitor each other, and in passenger operations monitoring is also carried out by the cabin crew (through regular contact both physical and verbal, regular communication with ATC, OCC etc.). ACROSS aims to provide a “logical” extension of the existing crew self-monitoring function, allowing evaluation of the crew status and to adequately address peak workload situations and reduced crew operations. Physiological monitoring will measure crew presence, alertness, vigilance, perceived workload and stress level. This subsystem is planned to be passive and non-intrusive. Behavioural monitoring will detect discrepancies or delays between flight crew actions and the active alarms/warnings raised by the cockpit systems. If the flight crew takes no action or an inappropriate action, the crew monitoring subsystem will be alerted.

6. Crew incapacitation. The extreme situation of incapacitated crew, which is always a remote possibility in a two-pilot configuration, must be addressed even more specifically in a reduced crew/single crew concept, so that automatic functions and safety nets can be identified and developed.



The 6 pillars are implemented in 13 Work Packages (WP): 7 organisational WPs (0 – 4, 11 & 12 – realising the projects’ structure) and 6 technological WPs (5 – 10 – developing the 6 pillars’ view)..

WP0: Programme Management


This WP will manage the overall Project, following-up on objectives, deliverables, work execution and representation of ACROSS for external contacts. WP0 will also be the main projects’ interface with the Commission.

WP1: Requirements


The objectives of this work package are to orientate/guide the projects’ activities, to ensure that the project will meet its goal, to describe new requirements and allocate those to each solution to be assessed during the project and to ensure links with WP11 (Validation & Global Assessment) by writing scenarios to be evaluated during the validation phases.

WP2: Architecture & Interaction Solutions

Leader: National Aerospace Laboratory – NLR, Netherlands

The objectives of this work package are to draw-up a list of technologies that can support current and novel interaction solutions, to perform a study of the impact of these new technologies on the avionic architectures of a fixed wing transport aircraft and to set the requirements, specify, develop, integrate and validate an “aircraft centred supervision system”.

WP3: Human Factors and Interaction Design


This work package is designed to provide the operational and human factor requirements for the development of the technologies within Work Packages 5 to 10 whilst assessing emerging innovative solutions with regard to their impact on the wider operational system.

WP4: Regulation/Certification/Safety


The objective of this work package is to conduct an analysis of the level of compliance of the key technology and operational elements introduced by ACROSS, mainly airworthiness certification aspects, cockpit crew certification and licensing.

WP5: Aviate

Leader: National Aerospace Laboratory – NLR, Netherlands

This work package will identify ways of automating the tasks of controlling and flying the aircraft, will facilitate more efficient crew operations and reduce the workload and stress for the flight crew with innovative cockpit technologies, providing a degree of automatic response to unplanned events.

WP6: Navigate & Management Mission


The objective of this WP is to define and evaluate innovative solutions related to the navigation and mission management task, for safe operations under peak workload and/or reduced crew conditions. Crew tasks concerned in this WP mainly deal with strategic aspects of the flight on a long time scale.

WP7: Communicate

Leader: TriaGnoSys GmbH, Germany

The objective of this work package is to investigate the communication aspects related to enhancing safety when the crew faces peak workload or incapacitation and also for nominal operation with reduced crew configuration. ACROSS’ focus is on the air-ground communication with controllers (ATS/ATC) and airline (AOC).

WP8: Manage Systems


This work package will take place during the second phase of the project with the aim of developing an “Aircraft System Management” system to reduce crew peak workload during both normal operation and emergency situations and propose innovative functions able to deal with this task.

WP9: Crew Monitoring


The objective of this work package is to identify the relevant crew status monitoring systems as defined in the study objectives whilst respecting the identified constraints. Build demonstration plans and evaluations for the most promising of those systems in relieving crew workload and enhancing overall safety is the expected output.

WP10: Incapacitated Crew

Leader: BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd, United Kingdom

The objective of this work package is to address key issues associated with an Electronic Standby Pilot (ESP) system that, when engaged, would be capable of ensuring the continued safe flight and landing of the aircraft without any further flight crew intervention.

WP11: Validation & Global Assessment

Leader: DEEP BLUE SRL, Italy

The objective of this work package is to guide, support and integrate all the validation activities of the project, delivering feedback useful for refining and improving the intermediate output of the project and at project completion, provide final validation,and integrate the different results achieved.

WP12: Dissemination, EEAG & Exploitation

Leader: DEEP BLUE SRL, Italy

The objective of this work package is to take care of internal and external communication, to organise and support the activities of the External Experts Advisory Group [link to EEAG] and to ensure ACROSS’ results exploitation.