CURSOR MANAGEMENT ON A MULTIPLE
DISPLAY ELECTRONIC FLIGHT
This invention claims priority from U.S. patent application Ser. No. 60/233,825, filed Sep. 19, 2000.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Technical Field
This invention relates, generally, to data display systems and, more particularly, to a system and method for graphical interaction with an aircraft information display system.
2. Background Information
Aircraft flight displays continue to advance in sophistication, achieving increasingly higher levels of information density and, consequently, presenting a greater amount of visual information to be perceived and understood by the operator. In many applications, it is important that visual displays provide a proper cognitive mapping between what the operator is trying to achieve and the information available to accomplish the task. As a result, such systems increasingly utilize human-factor design principles in order to build instrumentation and controls that work cooperatively with human operators. Accordingly, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has promulgated a number of standards and advisory circulars relating to flight instrumentation. More particularly, Title 14 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 25, Sec. 25.1321 et seq. provides guidelines for arrangement and visibility of instruments, warning lights, indicators, and the like. Similarly, detailed guidelines related to electronics displays can be found in FAA Advisory circular 20-88A, Guidelines on the Marking of Aircraft Powerplant Instruments (September 1985).
One area in particular that has not profited in advances in graphical user interfaces is the field of aircraft flight management systems. Specifically, in current generation aircraft, flight plan entry and editing continues to be performed using cumbersome, text-based techniques that have not changed significantly in the last decade. As a result, flight crews frequently complain that current flight management systems (FMS) are non-intuitive, difficult to interpret, and require too much heads-down time. Indeed, due to the high cockpit workload involved, many flight crews abandon the FMS altogether, choosing instead to fly the aircraft using the autopilot.
Systems and methods are therefore desired to overcome these and other limitations of the prior art. Specifically, there is a long felt need for an interface to flight management systems that is intuitive and easy to use, and which enables multiple flight crew members to concurrently interact with the FMS.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides systems and methods for an integrated graphical user interface that facilitates the display and editing of aircraft data with improved cursor management. In accordance with various aspects of the present invention, one or more users (e.g., a pilot and a co-pilot) located within the aircraft provide input to a processor through one or more cursor control devices and receive visual feedback via an electronic display. The display includes various graphical elements associated with the lateral position, vertical position, flight plan and/or other indicia of the aircraft's operational state as determined from
avionics data and/or various data sources. Through use of one or more cursor control devices, one or more users may view, modify, or otherwise interact with the displayed flight plan and/or other such indicia graphically in accordance
5 with feedback provided by the display.
An aircraft display and control system in accordance with the present invention generally includes a processor, a cursor control and selection device, an aeronautical information database, a geographic database, and a plurality of display
1° devices. Users, such as an aircraft pilot and copilot, can perform flight plan entry and modification by manipulating graphical information on the display devices using cursor control. In one embodiment, the present invention allows multiple members of an aircraft crew to share control of
15 common flight information display areas, aids the crew's situational awareness by providing software-implemented dynamic symbology and highlighting to indicate cursor location, current panel of entry, and current focus for keyboard and cursor events.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
A more complete understanding of the present invention may be derived by referring to the following detailed 25 description and claims when considered in connection with the following illustrative figures.
FIG. 1 is a schematic overview of a user interface in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention; FIG. 2 is a schematic overview of a display arrangement 30 in accordance with one aspect of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a schematic overview of a flight deck which embodies certain aspects of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of the components of a 35 prior art flight deck;
FIG. 5 is a representation of an exemplary display device in accordance with certain aspects of the present invention;
FIG. 6 is a diagram showing the configuration of different cursor symbols displayed on multi-function display units of 40 the flight deck of FIG. 3.
FIG. 7 illustrates a different configuration of a cursor symbol in an "inactivated" state; and
FIG. 8 is a schematic representation of the dynamic highlighting feature embodied in one aspect of the present 45 invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY
50 Systems and methods in accordance with various aspects of the present invention facilitate one or more users' graphical interaction with an aircraft information display. In this regard, the present invention may be described herein in terms of functional block components and various process
55 steps. It should be appreciated that such functional blocks may be realized by any number of hardware, firmware, and/or software components configured to perform the various specified functions. For example, the present invention may employ various integrated circuit components, such as,
60 for example, memory elements, digital signal procession elements, look-up tables, and the lich, which may carry out a variety of functions under the control of one or more microprocessors or other control devices. Such general techniques and components that are known to those skilled
65 in the art are not described in detail herein.
Referring now to FIG. 1, a system in accordance with various aspects of the present invention includes a processor