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Ontology modelling of intelligent HCI in aircraft cockpit

Xia Zhang (College of Civil Aviation, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, China)
Youchao Sun (College of Civil Aviation, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, China)
Yanjun Zhang (School of Mechanical Engineering, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, China)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 10 June 2021

Issue publication date: 5 August 2021




Semantic modelling is an essential prerequisite for designing the intelligent human–computer interaction in future aircraft cockpit. The purpose of this paper is to outline an ontology-based solution to this issue.


The scenario elements are defined considering the cognitive behaviours, system functions, interaction behaviours and interaction situation. The knowledge model consists of a five-tuple array including concepts, relations, functions, axioms and instances. Using the theory of belief-desire-intention, the meta-model of cognitive behaviours is established. The meta-model of system functions is formed under the architecture of sub-functions. Supported by information flows, the meta-model of interaction behaviours is presented. Based on the socio-technical characteristics, the meta-model of interaction situation is proposed. The knowledge representation and reasoning process is visualized with the semantic web rule language (SWRL) on the Protégé platform. Finally, verification and evaluation are carried out to assess the rationality and quality of the ontology model. Application scenarios of the proposed modelling method are also illustrated.


Verification results show that the knowledge reasoning based on SWRL rules can further enrich the knowledge base in terms of instance attributes and thereby improve the adaptability and learning ability of the ontology model in different simulations. Evaluation results show that the ontology model has a good quality with high cohesion and low coupling.

Practical implications

The approach presented in this paper can be applied to model complex human–machine–environment systems, from a semantics-driven perspective, especially for designing future cockpits.


Different from the traditional approaches, the method proposed in this paper tries to deal with the socio-technical modelling issues concerning multidimensional information semantics. Meanwhile, the constructed model has the ability of autonomous reasoning to adapt to complex situations.



This research was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (U2033202, U1333119, 51605424); Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (56XBC20018); and Postgraduate Research & Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province (KYCX18_0309).


Zhang, X., Sun, Y. and Zhang, Y. (2021), "Ontology modelling of intelligent HCI in aircraft cockpit", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 93 No. 5, pp. 794-808.



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