April 14, 2016
Earlier this year, NASA announced a challenge through the HeroX portal; a website designed to connect a worldwide community of innovators to global challenges. The aim of the challenge was to assist NASA’s Safe Autonomous Operations Systems (SASO) Project, by suggesting designs for the future Air Traffic Control System of 2035 and beyond.
The following is part of the problem’s description from the challenge’s website: https://herox.com/SkyForAll
Experts predict the skies of 2035 and beyond will be a complex and, at times, crowded space, populated with diverse vehicles piloted by both humans and machine intelligence. The estimates are that, twenty years from now, 10 million manned and unmanned vehicles may traverse the U.S. airspace every day. Our current system is not equipped to handle this volume or variety of aircraft.
The applicants for the challenge had to propose innovative ideas to develop future Air Traffic Control Systems that will be able to accommodate the high volume of traffic, both manned and unmanned, and do this in an efficient, robust and most of all, safe manner.
Intrigued by the complexity of the competition, I decided I had to put a team together and enter. I am pleased to announce that our team won the Sky for All challenge, by proposing an “Autonomous Hierarchical Adaptive Air Traffic Control System”. The proposal featured a self-organizing, self-adapting autonomous Air Traffic Control System, based on a strict hierarchical structure. The proposed system is capable of handling a wide range of current and future prospective aerospace users, from small off-the-shelf drones, through airliners, to potential space launchers.
Our winning team, “The Sopranos” included:
- David Sziroczák, Intrinsys/Integral Powertrain, Cranfield University, Team Captain
- György Bicsák, AEROK ltd, Budapest University of Technology and Economics
- Aaron Latty, Cranfield University
Hopefully this achievement is just a first stage of us spreading our wings regarding all things flying!