The growing demand for air travel is increasing the need for mitigation of air traffic congestion and complexity problems, which are already at high levels. At the same time new information and automation technologies are enabling the distribution of tasks and decisions from the service providers to the users of the air traffic system, with potential capacity and cost benefits. This distribution of tasks and decisions raises the concern that independent user actions will decrease the predictability and increase the complexity of the traffic system, hence inhibiting and possibly reversing any potential benefits. In answer to this concern, the authors propose the introduction of decision-making metrics for preserving user trajectory flexibility. The hypothesis is that such metrics will make user actions naturally mitigate traffic complexity. In this paper, the impact of using these metrics on traffic complexity is investigated. The scenarios analyzed include aircraft in en route airspace with each aircraft meeting a required time of arrival in a one-hour time horizon while mitigating the risk of loss of separation with the other aircraft, thus preserving its trajectory flexibility. The experiments showed promising results in that the individual trajectory flexibility preservation induced self-separation and self-organization effects in the overall traffic situation. The effects were quantified using traffic complexity metrics based on Lyapunov exponents and traffic proximity.
Theme: Trajectory and Queue Management
Keywords: Trajectory planning, adaptability, distributed air traffic management, robustness, self organizing, self separation, separation assurance, traffic complexity, trajectroy flexibility
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