European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results
CORDIS

4D Skyways

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - PJ18-W2 4D Skyways (4D Skyways)

Reporting period: 2023-01-01 to 2023-06-30

Building on the work of wave 1, the 4DSkyways (PJ18W2) project defines and validates concepts for improvements to trajectory management, and also develops and verifies the supporting system enablers.

What is the problem being addressed? The S3JU Single Programming Document 2019-2021 clearly identifies the need for industrial research addressing essential trajectory management (TM) improvements. Together with the enabled development of Trajectory Based Operations (TBO), TM improvements will increase airspace capacity, flight efficiency also tightly linked with environmental benefits in terms of emissions and noise reduction.

Why is it important for society? The 4DSkyways project can contribute to improvements to air traffic management performance; which can lead to an improved connectivity of people, goods and services; and can also lead to reduced emissions and thus climate benefits.

The overall objectives of the project are to:

- Increase airspace capacity, flight predictability and efficiency by reducing ATCO workload and separation buffers and facilitating new controller team organisations, thanks to: the improvement of the ground trajectory prediction accuracy; enhancements to the performance of the conflict detection and resolution tools, and of the conformance monitoring and discrepancy resolution tools;

- Improve traffic predictability - and as a result trajectory precision - by enhancing the air and ground trajectory alignment by automated exchange of more complex clearances, including in the vertical dimension;

- Steer and coordinate all the TM developments between all Air and Ground stakeholders by continuing the definition of the trajectory management solution;

- Improve the benefits of future TM developments by investigating new higher automation of trajectory exchanges;

- Continue the definition of the trajectory prediction common service (TPCS) that will be an alternative solution to collect and deliver trajectory information to all ground stakeholders, mitigating European ATM system fragmentation.
The project started on the 1st of December 2019. In response to delays due to the COVID crisis, a grant amendment was signed in December 2021 which extended the project closure from the end of December 2022 until the end of June 2023. This RP4 report concerns the final six month period from the 1st of January until the end of June 2023, along with some additional activities beyond the official closure date.

The main focus of the work in 2023 has been the delivery of the data-packs and maturity gates for Solutions 53A, 53B and 56; the finalisation of the data packs for Solution 57 and 88 in line with actions from their maturity gates in 2022; the completion of the Trajectory Management Document (TMD); and the communication and dissemination activities both at partner and project wide level. The main highlights are summarised below:

• Solution 53A (Increased Automation in Planning and Tactical Separation Management) is assessed to have achieved V2 maturity for enhanced conflict detection tools, enhanced conflict resolution tools, and the integration of dynamic adverse weather areas into conflict detection and resolution tools. The Solution is assessed to have achieved Ongoing V2 maturity for automated inference of flight and aircraft intent.

• Solution 53B (Improved Performance of CD/R Tools Enabled by Reduced Trajectory Prediction Uncertainty) is assessed to have achieved V3 maturity for trajectory improvements with ADS-C, conflict detection & resolution tools improvements with ADS-C, and improved meteorological data for trajectory prediction and CD&R. The validation report contains recommendations for industrialisation and deployment, and for additional research and development to close any gaps.

• Solution 56 (Air/Ground Trajectory Synchronisation via lateral and vertical complex CPDLC clearances to support TBO) is assessed to have achieved a V2 maturity level for all concept elements under validation. The validation report and contextual note contain recommendations on the necessary validations to be undertaken in the V3 phase to mature the concept, as well as further recommendations on aircraft equipage and datalink technology.

• The Solution 57 (Support of Onboard decisioN-making using Inreased automation Capabilities) airborne automation thread explored the augmented automation capabilities on the aircraft through a new concept, which should improve the situation awareness of the aircrew and allow a longer-term anticipation. The concept has achieved the V1 maturity level. The validation report for the Airborne Automation thread V1 highlights a number of elements which would need to be addressed in the next phase.

• The TMD has received a favourable reaction from stakeholders and is being used by EUROCONTROL to support activities like the TBO timeline work requested by NDTECH -NDOP and is a reference document for the recently published Network 4D Trajectory CONOPS.

• The Solution 57 ground automation thread conducted research to investigate how the benefits and impact of increased levels of automation in ground ATC tasks could be measured. The framework has achieved an Ongoing V1 maturity level. The report for the ground automation thread provides recommendations for future research and planning of activities related to the development of the framework.

• Solution 88 delivered (the final versions of the Business Model (BM), High Level Architecture (HLA) and Service Description Document (SDD) focused – in Wave 2 - on support for Virtual Centres and IOP, with the BM indicating significant technology cost efficiency. Solution 88 has achieved a TRL2 Ongoing maturity level.

• The project performed a number of important communications and dissemination activities including: the joint 4DSkyways and ASCENSCIO event at EUROCONTROL in March; participation in the SESAR TBO presentations and walking tour at Airspace World also in March. The 4DSkyways project received an award for Best SESAR Industrial Research Project.
TThe SESAR Horizon 2020 4DSkyways project (PJ18 Wave 2) has validated six SESAR Solutions for Trajectory Based Operations (TBO) in the tactical execution phase for en-route and TMA operations; namely 18.06 1b, 53A, 53B, 56, 57 and 88. The project performed twenty-one validation exercises, delivered five data packs, and progressed the maturity level of all its solutions. The Trajectory Management Document provides an integrated view of SESAR TBO in a single document. A framework for assessing the impact of automation on ATC tasks has also been delivered.

The SESAR3 ATC-TBO project will provide an opportunity to progress the next R&D phases.
soln-56-rts-testing-at-bretigny-in-may-2021.png