Saab Remote Tower Design
Remote tower in a nutshell
Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions provides remote control tower stations that allow air traffic controllers to operate one or several airports from a distance. Boid was hired to package the advanced technology of the work stations into one coherent product. A product that supports the air traffic controller’s work and accommodates a variety of use cases.
Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions
Concept & design
An environment to thrive in
With high end panorama windows technology and all important functionalities in place, the remote tower station was already operational. However, Saab wanted to be able to offer their customers a more complete and packaged solution that works in context with a contemporary and friendly work environment that supports the important role of the air traffic controller and matches the technical advancement of their system. On top of that they needed a solution that would be relevant for both large international hubs as well as smaller airports.
A trip to Saab’s operational remote tower in Sundsvall gave insight into the needs and workflow of an air traffic controller. It revealed the relevance of good lighting and yearning for daylight, the necessity of sound control as well as more individual and personal needs that could differ from one station or airport to another.
From top to bottom
The project resulted in a modular solution that facilitates both the arrangement of large setups with high need for cooperation as well as smaller individual stations that tend up to three smaller airports.
It consists of 3 major parts:
A desk that is both customised to contain the specific equipment needed for the job while at the same time being flexible enough to adjust to individual needs and allowing room for possible future technical updates. Bluntly, a desk that is able to contain all the technical challenges but also the mess that comes with complex work structures.
A modular sound absorbing wall system that incases the panoramic view as well as ambient lighting above the screens. The system is based on a hexagonal raster, which hugs the round setup of the digitalised panorama window and at the same time establishes clear angles and straight walls to accommodate other functionalities throughout the room. The walls can be combined in different heights and shapes as needed and can even be extended with seating areas.
A collection of various add-ons such as tables and shelfs as well as accessories like file organisers, hooks and even sound absorbing light panels for the ceiling provides the tools to create a highly functional environment with coherent style throughout the entire workspace, from top to bottom.
The system can be adjusted to suit bigger setups in need of collaboration between workstations. The walls can be assembled in three different heights, so they can also provide partial division between stations. Another advantage is the possibility to fit work stations into rooms with a lower ceiling height.
There are merely a few different shapes of wall panels. But by flipping or turning the panels they can be assembled into many different wall designs.
Using the wall panels and their angles as a base, the various accessories enhance functionality throughout the workspace.
The future of air traffic control is bright
As the general layout and design of control towers has basically been the same since the 1960s, the step for air traffic controllers from an actual physical tower into a digitalised environment is a big one.
It was our mission to ease this transition by not placing people inside a workspace that resembles a science fiction warship but rather creating a bright and friendly space for people to thrive in and be their best at an important job.
Material, colour and shape of this project were chosen in close consideration of the daily work in a remote control tower. Factors such as noise management, light architecture, shared work stations, cooperation and privacy led to the final design.
The style is inspired by contemporary Scandinavian interior design while keeping the relatively long life time of the final product in mind. It therefore combines a timeless friendly expression with a sharp and clean look that blends well with the advanced technology it contains.
A virtual showroom
Already during the creation of the concept the use of a virtual reality headset was a helpful tool to assess the space we have been working in.This worked so well that bringing the workstation into VR, quickly led to using it as a test arena for the modularity of the concept.
During an international expo, Saab was able to invite their potential customers into a virtual showroom that presented their technology as well as the various possibilities our system provides for smaller and larger airports. It showcases the visionary tower of the future that transported the visitors from the expected dark control room into a generous and friendly environment that embraces technical advancement.