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Transforming human-machine interaction with extended reality technology
  • The research project THEIAXR sets out to transform the way mobile machines interact with their human operators, improving safety, security, and user-friendliness
  • Three use cases will investigate the application of extended reality (XR) technologies in the fields of snow grooming, logistics, and construction
  • The project is funded with €6 million by the European Commission and includes 11 project partners from six EU countries, including project coordinator TTControl, a joint-venture company of TTTech Group and HYDAC International

Vienna, 20 February 2023 The new research project THEIAXR aims to improve human-machine interaction in mobile machinery by enhancing user technology fit and extended reality (XR) technologies and functionalities. The project’s goal is to make the invisible visible and extend the perceivable range of the human operator without impacting their performance. The three-year project is funded with a total of six million euros from the European Commission’s Horizon Europe program.

THEIAXR will be validated and tested in three use cases in the off-highway domain: snow grooming, logistics, and construction. The project will be carried out by a consortium of 11 project partners from industry and academia. It is coordinated by high-tech company TTControl, a joint venture of TTTech and HYDAC International, based in Vienna and Brixen.

Christiana Seethaler, Vice President of Product Development at TTControl is very excited to coordinate this highly relevant project: “Integrating XR technologies into TTControl’s HMI products for mobile machinery is another step towards more intelligent, trustworthy off-highway operations.”


Enhancing conventional human-machine interfaces with XR

Mobile machines, such as excavators, snow groomers, or cranes, are often large and bulky, and sometimes controlled remotely. It can be a challenge for a human operator to maintain an overview of the machine and its environment. XR technologies can expand the operator’s field of vision and improve his or her confidence in human-machine interaction. For instance, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies may be used to display machine status in the operator’s immediate field of vision. Haptic feedback could be used to send tactile signals to operators, for example via a joystick, and acoustic feedback can be used to provide warning signals to the user. Combined with external sensors, these technologies can also help detect obstacles and other factors of the environment, improving not just the safety of the operator and bystanders, but also increasing efficiency as work can be completed with more foresight.

A human-centered approach

The project applies a transdisciplinary co-design approach, where all relevant stakeholders of the use case partners are involved in the specification, implementation, testing, and validation activities and decisions of the project, contributing as experts in their respective domains.

Martijn Rooker, Innovation Projects & Funding Manager at project lead TTControl explains: “The XR technology used in mobile machinery must be intuitive enough to enable low-threshold operation in many different scenarios. Therefore, THEIAXR will apply a human-centered, scenario-based co-design methodology. This means that real end-users and real-life data from industrial environments will be integrated to guarantee all solutions are as intuitive and user-friendly as possible.”

This way, the project will ensure a positive impact of extended reality technologies on the safety, security, trustworthiness, and societal aspects of the interaction between the machine, the human operator, and the public. Rooker: “Being able to interact with the machine using their inherent human intuition, operators should experience an increased sense of self-efficacy and meaningfulness in their work. Ultimately, that is our goal.”

THEIAXR will run until the end of 2025. The project has received funding from Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding program for research and innovation, under grant agreement No 101092861.



About TTControl

TTControl is a leading company in the field of safety control systems, rugged displays, and connectivity as well as IoT solutions for mobile machinery and off-highway vehicles. The latest additions to TTControl's portfolio are IoT gateways that enable machines to be connected and managed in the cloud as part of turnkey solutions. The joint venture of the HYDAC Group and the TTTech Group is based in Vienna (Austria) and Brixen (Italy) and is supported by HYDAC sales offices in more than 50 countries worldwide.

With over 20 years of experience, TTControl accompanies its customers and partners throughout the development process, providing extensive know-how on system architectures, functional safety, and application software. TTControl, in partnership with lead customers, is working towards making autonomous operation a reality.



THEIAXR (Making the invisible visible for off-highway machinery by conveying extended reality technologies) aims at improving human-machine interaction in mobile machinery by enhancing user technology fit and extending reality technologies and functionalities. The results will make the invisible visible respectively the non-perceivable perceivable.

THEIAXR is made up of 11 project partners from six European countries and is coordinated by TTControl. The project is funded with €6 million by Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding program for research and innovation, under grant agreement No 101092861.


Additional materials

Portrait Martijn Rooker, Innovation Projects & Funding Manager, TTControl; ©TTTech

Portrait Martijn Rooker

Portrait Christiana Seethaler, Vice President Product Development, TTControl; ©TTTech

Portrait Christiana Seethaler

Image of an operator inside a snow groomer; ©PRINOTH

Prinoth snow groomer LEITWOLF

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