Airbus UTM Teams Awarded Best in Conference and Best in Session at USA / Europe ATM R&D Seminar

The USA / Europe ATM R&D Seminar is held every two years alternating between locations in the USA and Europe. This seminar has become the preeminent event for ATM researchers where experts from around the world meet to discuss cutting-edge ATM research and unite to solve major issues in the industry. The event is jointly organized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and EUROCONTROL.

This year, members of our Airbus UTM team won Best in Conference for a paper on “Protocol-Based Congestion Management for Advanced Air Mobility” and also won Best in Session for their paper on “Evaluation of UTM Strategic Deconfliction Through End-to-End Simulation”. You can find these papers and presentations on the ATM Seminar website.

Acubers Maxim Egorov and Tony Evans worked with experts at MIT’s DINaMo research group on their paper entitled “Protocol-Based Congestion Management for Advanced Air Mobility”. The team studied the problem of congestion management for autonomous aircraft operations. Their goal was to support the safe separation of advanced air mobility operations, such as air taxis and package delivery, which may be scheduled with short lead times, and where operators may be unable or reluctant to share flight intent information.

Our team supported the MIT researchers in creating algorithms that are scalable, efficient and fair in dynamic, reduced-information settings. These crucial algorithms can assist in the development of the “rules-of-the-road” for providing airspace access to drone deliveries and air taxis. The key contribution of this study was the development of reduced-information decentralized protocols that do not rely on centralized coordination. The flexible protocol supports a wide variety of user-specified priorities to help achieve the preferred balance between efficiency and fairness at an operator- or system-wide level.

While there is still much work to do, the team has accomplished the first step in understanding the interplay between information exchange, efficiency and fairness in traffic coordination. This important innovation in the UTM field will encourage further research on congestion management in advanced air mobility.

In collaboration with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, members of the Airbus UTM team examined the safety impact of strategic deconfliction in their paper, “Evaluation of UTM Strategic Deconfliction Through End-to-End Simulation”. Maxim Egorov, Tony Evans and Scot Campbell provided an introductory analysis of volume-based deconfliction to mitigate air risk between cooperative uncrewed operations in the UTM setting. This research helps fill a critical safety gap in UTM, and illustrates the use of simulation in validation and verification of UTM performance requirements in the operationalizing of UTM

In this pioneering work, our team explored the link between operation intent volumes, system error conformance rate and safety. To test their hypothesis, the team performed numerous Monte Carlo simulations that represent approximately 18 million hours of UAS flight time. These simulations use repeated random sampling to understand a problem that is difficult to constrain because of uncertainty and having many degrees of freedom.

The team evaluated the performance of strategic deconfliction in highly utilized airspace, exploring the impact of uncertainty models on various safety metrics such as near mid-air collisions. Using results from their Monte Carlo simulations and follow-on work, they concluded that while conformance rate has an impact on the risk mitigation provided by strategic deconfliction, the rate at which operators participate in strategic deconfliction is the key leading factor impacting the overall safety of UTM. More broadly, this research outlines and applies a simulation-based methodology for evaluating the safety benefit of UTM services like strategic deconfliction whose specifications and guiding principles are emerging globally, like in the forthcoming ASTM UTM Standard.

We are proud of the accomplishments of our team at the USA / Europe ATM R&D Seminar. Continuously building our knowledge of UTM will help us enable the next age of aviation not only for existing aircraft but also drone deliveries, other urban air mobility vehicles and beyond.

- Airbus UTM Team