|9 - 10:30 a.m.
Blue Skies - What Does the Future Hold Beyond NextGen, Regardless of Privatization?
As we approach the milestone of 2025 for NextGen, what’s next? What does the future of aviation look like after NextGen? Regardless of the outcome of privatization, the aviation community requires an operational transformation of the NAS that enables new vehicle types and their associated modes of operations. This operational change will significantly change the functional and performance requirements of the global airspace system. The challenge will be to establish a continuously evolving airspace system that creates an environment for an increased pace of adoption of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomy; and new operational business models such as space transportation and package delivery systems; while maintaining the safest airspace system in the world. In planning for the environment beyond NextGen, this panel WILL provide a framework for this year’s ATCA Technical Symposium
Gene Hayman, CACI
Michael Baiada, ATH Group, Inc
Steve Bradford, FAA
Michael Dyment, Nexa Capital
Donna McLean, PlanzerMclean
Bob Pearce, NASA
|11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
It’s all about the Information
The current air transportation system, which has evolved over the past eight decades, is now one of the most complex operating systems in the world. The major components consist of:
• aircraft operated by air carriers, specialized service providers, general aviation enthusiasts, and the military
• public and private airports and intermodal transportation connections
• an abundance of aviation regulations and procedures
• aircraft and avionics certification processes and procedures
• air traffic control personnel, procedures, and technical infrastructure
Many existing technologies and practices have been strongly influenced by human abilities and human interactions with evolving technology-based systems. Controllers and maintenance personnel make the decisions based on the information provided by the information they have available. While human decision-making and the resulting spatial awareness are still the integral parts of the process, technology continues to improve it. Better presentation of flight data and improved distribution of flights between controllers has reduced the workload associated with every flight, helping staff to handle more flights at a time as well as easing some of the data access challenges in the cockpit (e.g., iPad use, EFB).
The technology today is more about providing information. Information-based technologies that are enabling major changes to the air transportation system, such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), air-ground datalinks, automatic dependent surveillance (ADS), synthetic vision systems, pilot and controller decision aids, SMIM, weather to the cockpit and new methods of training have already been developed and some deployed. However, because of the complex interactions between economic, political, sociological, and technological forces in the air transportation system, it is extremely difficult to predict the impact of the next generation of technologies on the NAS, therefore which technologies should even be pursued. Consequently, there is a strong tendency within “the system” to maintain the status quo or take the safe way out and not consider the use of evolving technologies such as use of cellular, internet of things, and supercomputing. As a result, new information technologies have been limited to incremental improvements, many already too late in the pipeline to be useful and gain the NAS benefits much less be supported by industry by the time they are deployed in the current processes of acquisition.
Some technologies and procedures have been mandated to improve the safety of the overall air transportation system. The adoption of the Traffic Alert/Collision Avoidance system by all U.S. commercial transport aircraft for example is a prominent example. However, regulations intended to promote safety and security can sometimes become barriers to rapid advances in information technology and even procedural changes which can result in missed opportunities to improve safety, security, efficiency, flexibility and predictability for NAS and its operations.
Note that a fully automated air traffic control system is probably unlikely anytime on the horizon. When technology goes wrong; a human would still be needed to watch the systems, correcting them when their automated decisions are not the right ones. The problem with that is, as with any highly skilled role, you need to keep practicing staying good, and watching the systems do it based on the information is not the same as doing it yourself.
Moderator: Natesh Manikoth, FAA
Chris Balcik, Samsung
Young Bang, Booz Allen Hamilton
Mark Denicuolo, FAA
Chris Metts, Deloitte
Bill Thigpen, NASA
|3:45 - 5 p.m.
Cutting edge applications of Modeling and Simulation to support Future NAS
Modeling and Simulation (M&S) is used throughout the FAA and industry to validate operational concepts and test new technologies supporting the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). M&S allows us to look into the future and understand the complex system of systems that is the NAS. Transformative technologies, such as those that enable TBO and facilitate the integration of commercial space and UAS traffic, will require new M&S approaches that go beyond current capabilities. M&S is now also being used to validate or invalidate new technologies, strategies or tactics or assess the improvements gained in improved safety & efficiencies or reduced operating costs. As we move to the future of the NAS, what do these advanced M&S concepts look like? Agent-based simulation, virtual reality, and hybrid systems are likely candidates. This panel will present the latest M&S activities within the FAA, NASA, and industry and discuss future concepts and capabilities.
Moderator: Al Schwartz, FAA
Dr. Heather Arneson, NASA Ames
Dr. Robert Cox, US Army
Dave Knorr, FAA
Paul MacWilliams, The MITRE Corporation
Premysl Volf, Agentfly Technologies/Czech Technical University