Tactile Cueing System: Technology Acceleration

We accelerated the technology maturity of a Tactile Cueing System from TRL 3 to TRL 7, resulting in improved outcomes for pilots when hovering.


An Authoritative work on US helicopter accidents highlighted that 80% of helicopter crashes can be attributed to causes other than hostility. Of these causes, the loss of situational awareness in a degraded visual environment (DVE) was the predominant contributing factor.

To address this, in 1994 the US Army, US Navy and NASA jointly began developing and flight-testing a tactile cueing device – the Tactile Situation Awareness System (TSAS) – which in effect gives pilots a ‘poke in the ribs’. US Army Accident Investigators (2014) determined that TSAS could have avoided 24% of aviation Class A mishaps.

While effective in some circumstances TSAS had several limitations and a Technology Readiness Level of 3 (TRL 3). The limitations included lost tactile sensations due to aircraft vibrations, pilot confusion of the tactor location, poor fitting of the Tactor Locator System (ie vest), and gyroscopes causing erroneous tactile signals.


AHQ invited the University of Canberra (UC), who partnered with Aurizn, to submit a Capability and Technology Demonstrator proposal to demonstrate TCS efficacy.

Over a 14-month program we matured technology to TRL 7.

The Project was undertaken in accordance with Aurizn’s Engineering Management System resulting in a TCS that is self-powered and self-sensored to overcome previous aircraft integration limitations.

Our 4-phased approach incorporated the important lessons from TSAS’s TRL3 capability and used hover drift tactile software algorithms (MATLAB) and a wearable tactile belt with integrated control electronics, both provided by UC.

Phase 1 – Requirements definition

A user workshop provided crucial input into design and development of the TCS belt and garment.

Phase 2 – Simulation

Using DSTG facilities – which provided aircraft position and attitude inputs – enabled test pilot and aircrew to interact with the system.

Phase 3 Flight trials

Integration with the self-powered, self-sensored platform position and attitude system on a civilian R44 helicopter provided feedback on vibro-tactile feedback intensity.

Phase 4 Flight trials 2

Flight trial based on ADS 33 flight handling qualities. Data obtained during the flight demonstration conducted on a Chinook CH-47F showed that in DVE hover performance improved with TCS usage.


The Project successfully delivered on the 12 minimum, and the majority of the aspirational target performance measures.

These results indicated that TCS has the potential to improve position maintenance, reduce pilot workload, and thus improve pilot safety during hover operations in DVE.

Case Studies

We have a strong reputation for taking on complex challenges. Find out more about the ground breaking work and projects we’ve undertaken.

  • All
  • Enterprise
  • Defence
In collaboration with Veracio (formerly Boart Longyear) we developed the TruStructure application — a cutting-edge, web-based platform for structural and geotechnical logging.
man holding a tablet in a vineyard
Wine Australia
We used Machine Learning and high resolution satellite imagery to scan the Australian continent for the location of vineyards.
digital flare helicopter model
Digital Flare Model
Aurizn developed a physics-based and validated Digital Flare Model for DSTG to enable simulated testing of scenarios to improve platform survivability.
active moment apparatus
Active Movement Extent Discrimination Apparatus: Technology Refresh
We ran a technology refresh to the Active Movement Extent Discrimination Apparatus, which is used by NASA to support research into astronaut rehabilitation strategies to counter long term effects of micro-gravity exposure.
defence helicopter with military inside
Electro Optic Survivability Integration Laboratory (EOSIL)
We supported DSTG with a technical refresh of its turn-key high-precision test and evaluation capability for Threat Warning Systems to support more efficient survivability assessments.
Essential Energy
Essential Energy – Vegetation Monitoring
By improving risk profiling of vegetation using remote geospatial sensing and AI, we helped power distributors improve electricity supply to millions across their network.
aerial view of a cityscape
Cross Domain Desktop Compositor
Working closely with CSIRO, we developed a new cross domain desktop compositor to advance data security for Defence.
TCS - soldier
Tactile Cueing System
We accelerated the technology maturity of a Tactile Cueing System from TRL 3 to TRL 7, resulting in improved outcomes for pilots when hovering.
defence helicopter flying over water
Electromagnetic Spectrum Synthetic Environment
We supported continuous evaluation of Electronic Warfare Self Protection (EWSP) systems and Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) to improve effectiveness.
military tactics development with firearm
Tactics Development Experimentation
Through the AWAKENING Series of Experiences, Aurizn provided the ADF with insights into improving aircraft capabilities and platform survivability against land-borne ballistic weapons.
igo prospectivity chart
Using deep learning, we worked with miner, IGO, to revolutionise the minerals exploration process via AI-generated prospectivity heatmaps.