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ACI Capabilities
     - Air Traffic Management (ATM)

ACI staff, based at NASA/Ames Research Center, are involved in projects designed to study manage, and enhance the National Airspace System (NAS). Most projects are done jointly between ACI and NASA and other contractors, and recent work includes collaboration on:

  • Developing and enhancing automation algorithms and related software designed to prevent loss of separation between flights on the ground and in flight
  • Developing software modules for new concepts to manage 3-D arrival flights from the air to the ground and then to an airline gate
  • Developing software for viewing flight and airspace data independently (i.e., without regard to the data source or existing software applications)
  • Enhancing and updating an established suite of decision-support software tools that provide automation assistance for air traffic management

Understanding air traffic placement and density throughout a simulated day helps researchers seeking to understand the effects of new concepts on existing airspace systems

Much of the work described above is performed through the use, design, implementation, and enhancement of various NASA simulation projects, which include:

The Airspace Concept Evaluation System (ACES) project provides a distributed simulation environment, allowing a number of specialized airspace simulation components to talk to each other. Such components, which represent parts of the airspace system, can be removed or added in order to evaluate system concepts intended to reduce delay, increase capacity, maintain flight separation, avoid weather problems, etc. ACI staff are assisting NASA/Ames in evaluating contributions to ACES software architecture, as well as designing and implementing particular component pieces.

The Center/TRACON Automation System (CTAS) comprises a set of software tools to help air traffic controllers manage the increasingly complex air traffic flows around large airports. The CTAS system receives radar feed from centers, generates various graphical displays for the controller, and then projects arrival times and potential conflicts. CTAS operates on a network of UNIX-based systems. ACI staff have worked with various air traffic analysis tools and TCP/IP networking issues. Recently ACI staff have been responsible for upkeep of extensive physical adaptation.land and air.data and software code in CTAS, and are reengineering key mechanisms responsible for maintaining and updating evolving sets of adaptation data.

The IV4D/NAS Viewer project, cooperatively developed between ACI, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and NASA, provides an application independent software tool built to visualize animated and still 3-D National Airspace System (NAS) data, for aeronautics engineers who research flight efficiencies and behavior. IV4D has been used by researchers and analysts at NASA/Ames Research Center and at NASA Langley Research Center to visualize a range of ATM data, including fast time ACES simulation software data, (archived) track and flight plan data from the CTAS software application, human-in-the-loop data from piloted separation assurance trials at NASA/Langley, and ASDI and airspace boundary data from the FAA, among others. IV4D was developed by ACI staff over a three-year period in parallel with development of the NAS viewer by the Air Force.

There is huge commercial demand to allow wide use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). This has a huge potential for safety problems when they fly in the same airspace as piloted aircraft. NASA is working with the FAA to identify problems and ways to mitigate them. ACI is supporting this effort by collecting databases of past UAV accidents; categorize accidents and hazards and identify common causes; work with partners to develop UAV requirements to mitigate hazards; develop safety cases to certify that the requirements sufficiently to mitigate the hazards; and work with partners to demonstrate efficacy of safety cases through certification of UAVs.

ACI brings an extensive skill mix to the study of the National Airspace System. Team members include aeronautical engineers, pilots and flight instructors, software developers, and network engineers.

Last modified: December 04, 2014 22:34:04