Exploring the benefits of automation in air and ground tools

  • A SESAR JU partnership project
  • Project page on the SESAR JU website
  • Project timeline:
    February 20 - December 22

NATS is working with SESAR partners to research a suitable approach to understand the benefits and impacts of greater levels of automation within tools used on the ground and in the air. These would support ground based ATC tasks ( e.g. for aircraft trajectory prediction, conflict detection, approach and queue management ) and tools onboard the aircraft used by the flight crew. The project will also focus on the human performance aspects of greater automation and how the human will interact and work with such novel capabilities.

The NATS R&D project team is carrying out research on the benefits and impacts of automation on ground based operations and Thales Avionics will be investigating automation on the airborne side.  NATS will be running a series of workshops which will bring together subject matter experts to help to develop a framework,  Automation Optimisation Horizon Indicator (AHOI), to decide what we could automate and what we shouldn’t, using future scenarios to measure the benefits and impacts.

The AHOI framework can then be used for testing against operational use cases which will help organisations navigate the decision-making process when it comes to automation projects. The framework can then be applied to a set of operational scenarios spanning different levels of automation, from low to high.

Automation within ATM is by no means new  – there are already many areas which provide automated support –  but how we approach this in the future could be more challenging if it isn’t done appropriately.  This SESAR solution’s framework hopes to provide a more standardised approach to help industry identify the appropriate levels of automation in future projects.

This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 872320. The opinions expressed herein reflect the authors’ view only. Under no circumstances shall the SESAR Joint Undertaking be responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.

Potential benefits

Trajectory prediction

Reduced workload

Increased capacity

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