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Department of Information Technology

Air Traffic Management (ATM)

We undertook the following actions to argue for the use of combinatorial optimisation technologies in ATM:

  • We wrote a survey on constraint programming for air traffic management [ABFP12].

Project: Airspace Sectorisation and Contingency Planning

In a project with the EuroControl Experimental Centre from 2008 to 2013, we obtained the following results:

  • We generated automatically contingency plans (like those on the upper right corner here), which are to be carried out in the event of a computer failure in tactical flow management; publications: [SBFP12, SBFP10b, SBFP10a].
  • We designed a new approach for the sectorisation of the European airspace into sectors, built by aggregating small 3D cells, so that workload is balanced across the resulting sectors and that their capacity constraints are never violated for a given set of flight plans; publications: [FP14, EK14, JFP13, J11]; survey: [FP13].
  • We extended our previous project (see below) to the whole European civil aviation (ECAC) airspace, initially divided into a regular grid of 3D cells rather than the current sectorisation, and using capacity as a metric rather than some form of traffic complexity; publication: [HBFP09].

Project: Air-Traffic Complexity Resolution in Multi-Sector Planning

In a project with EuroControl headquarters over 2004 and 2005, we effectively modelled and efficiently solved a problem of reducing and rebalancing the traffic complexities of a multi-sector airspace, and published this work at the ATM Seminar 2007 and in the JATM journal [FPÅ+07c,b,a] [slides] [more recent slides].

The traffic complexity of a sector was defined in a prior project (in which we did not participate) to be a weighted sum of the following parameters:

  • Number of flights within the sector
  • Number of flights near the border within the sector
  • Number of flights on non-level segments within the sector

The allowed forms of (subliminal) complexity resolution are:

  • Take-off: Changing the take-off times of not yet airborne flights
  • Speed: Changing the remaining approach times into the chosen multi-sector airspace of already airborne flights by slight speed adjustments within the two layers of feeder sectors around that airspace
  • Level: Changing the levels of passage over way-points in that airspace

Experiments with actual European flight profiles obtained from the Central Flow Management Unit (CFMU) show that these forms of complexity resolution can lead to significant complexity reductions and rebalancing:

  • Reduction: Complexity can be reduced by any combination of:
    • Reprofiling flights into less complex sectors
    • Reprofiling flights away from sector boundaries
    • Reprofiling flights onto level segments
  • Non-Zero Sum:
    • Take-off and speed resolutions do not just transfer complexity to adjacent multi-sectors, because a parameter controls the percentage of flights that are to be kept within the considered multi-sector.
    • Level and speed resolutions can reduce the complexity of a sector without increasing it elsewhere.
  • Rebalancing: Current flight profiles often yield huge complexity discrepancies among sectors, but complexity resolution addresses this.

Resources: Authorities

  • EuroControl, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium
  • CFMU, the Central Flow Management Unit of EuroControl
  • Luftfartsverket, the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration, in Norrköping, Sweden
  • FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration, USA
  • ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organisation

Resources: Research

  • ACARE, the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe
  • ASDA, the Association for the Scientific Development of ATM in Europe (we are members)
  • EASN, the European Aeronautics Science Network
  • EEC, the EuroControl Experimental Centre, in Brétigny, France
  • ERASMUS, the En-Route Air Traffic Soft Management Ultimate System
  • EREA, the Association of European Research Establishments for Aeronautics
  • European ATM Master Plan Portal
  • MAIAA - Optimisation Group at the École Nationale de l'Aviation Civile, Toulouse, France
  • NEXTOR, (US) National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research
  • ONERA, the French aerospace lab
  • PEGASUS, the Partnership of a European Group of Aeronautics and Space UniversitieS
  • SESAR JU, the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) Joint Undertaking with the European Commission
  • SESAR WP-E, SESAR work-package E on Long Term and Innovative Research

Resources: Events

  • ATACCS, the annual International Conferences on Application and Theory of Automation in Command and Control Systems
  • ATM Seminar, the biannual USA/Europe R&D Seminars on Air Traffic Management
  • DASC, the annual Digital Avionics Systems Conferences
  • ICAS, the congresses of the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences
  • ICRAT, the biannual International Conferences on Research in Air Transportation
  • SESAR Innovation Days, the annual forum for dissemination of SESAR WP-E results and for interaction with an enlarged ATM research community

Resources: Networks

  • Complex World, the SESAR WP-E network on complexity management (we are members)
  • HALA!, the SESAR WP-E network on higher automation levels (we are members)
Updated  2018-01-09 11:17:00 by Peter Waites.