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Towards an Automated and exPlainable ATM System

Project description

Artificial intelligence and transparency in air traffic management

There are great expectations of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies bringing a major breakthrough to Air Traffic Management (ATM), enabling a highly automated system able to deliver higher capacity. The reliability and safety of these systems, however, remains a key question for both users and operators and is a fundamental obstacle for the adoption of AI/ML technologies in any domain. The main objective of the EU-funded TAPAS project is to provide a set of principles and criteria which pave the way for the deployment of these technologies in ATM in a safe and trustworthy manner. eXplainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) techniques, together with Visual Analytics, will help explore trade-offs between efficiency of AI implementations and the suitability for deployment in specific applications.


As Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes an increasing part of our lives in general, individuals are finding that the need to trust these AI based systems is paramount. Air Traffic Management (ATM) is not an stranger to this: with a system close to, or already at, a saturation level, AI applications are considered a main enabler to reach higher levels of automation.

This would mean a fundamental shift in the automation approach when moving from the classical human-machine interaction to a potentially much richer solution enabled by these AI systems, in which trust in the operations needs to be generated. As humans, operators must be able to fully understand how decisions are being made so that they can trust the decisions of AI systems. The lack of explainability and trust hampers the ability (both individual and global) to fully trust AI systems.

TAPAS aims at exploring highly automated AI-based scenarios through analysis and experimental activities applying eXplainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) and Visual Analytics, in order to derive general principles of transparency which pave the way for the application of these AI technologies in ATM environments, enabling higher levels of automation.

Specifically, TAPAS will:

• Analyse two operational environments: ATC (Air Traffir Control)Conflict Detection & Resolution (tactical), and Air Traffic Flow Management (pre-tactical). For them, levels of automation 1 to 3 according to SESAR Model will be considered.
• Develop eXplainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) prototypes addressing the requirements and acceptability criteria of the scenarios.
• Run experiments that assess the applicability of these XAI modules in the higher levels of automation considered, exploring different ways of interaction and information exchange.
• Apply Visual Analytics techniques to contribute to explainability of decissions.
• Extract conclusions, principles and recommendations related to transparency of AI in ATM.


Net EU contribution
€ 212 750,00
Calle campezo, 1, 4º, edificio 7, parque empresarial las mercedes
28022 Madrid

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Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (5)