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Take Control

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - TaCo (Take Control)

Reporting period: 2017-06-20 to 2017-12-19

TaCo (Take Control) aims to define an automated system sufficiently powerful to both accomplish complex tasks involved in the management of surface movements in a major airport and self-assess its own ability to deal with non-nominal conditions. When needed, such system should be sensitive enough to transfer responsibilities for traffic management back to the controller, in a timely and graceful manner and in way that makes him/her comfortable with the inherited tasks.
Automation is one of the key solution proposed and adopted by SESAR to tackle the challenges coming from the increase of capacity and complexity of the future ATM system. On the one hand, the programme aims at substantially reducing controller task load per flight through a significant enhancement of integrated automation support, whilst simultaneously meeting the established safety and environmental goals. On the other hand, it is envisaged that human operators will remain at the core of the system (mainly with the role of overall system managers) using automated systems with the required degree of integrity and redundancy. TACO proposes a dove tailed process to facilitate the controller’s forward thinking, also in anticipation to A-CDM (Airport- Collaborative Decision Making) amongst others.
The main objectives of TaCo, here recalled to describe and motivate the structure and organization of the project, are the following:
● defining algorithms and solutions to automate and optimize both the decision making and implementation tasks for the controller involved in the ground movement of airport vehicles and aircraft;
● identifying and providing the controller with suitable and usable tools to supervise (monitor, tune and re-program) the system;
● studying the interaction between the human actors and the automation. Main focus will be on the identification of sensitive state transaction from a (fully) automated management system to conditions where the human is brought into the loop to handle situations where his/her cognitive resources are essential.
The TaCo project kicked-off with a two days meeting on June 27th 2016 in Rome, at Deep Blue premises. All the partners attended the meeting in presence, while the project officers from SJU participated in video-conference. The Kick Off meeting has been a valuable occasion to agree expectations, requirements and project's planning among the partners and between the consortium and the project officers. During the Kick off meeting the consortium defined and agreed a workplan for the following activities.
The first project activity has been the preparation and consolidation of a Project Management Plan, corresponding to the deliverable D1.1. At the same time the ethics deliverable have been prepared and submitted. Both the PMP and the Ethics requirements have been reviewed and accepted by SJU.
The first technical activities of TaCo started with the work on both D2.1 - Problem definition and D2.2 - State of the art. During such activities a meeting involving the whole consortium, has been held at Malta International Airport (hosted by MATS in September 2016). The meeting aimed at identifing and observing on the field some of the key aspects covered by Work Package 2, namely airport layout and procedural aspects, tower location, layout and organization, airport complexity factors, challenges brought to tower ATCos' by nominal and non-nominal operational conditions, preliminary needs to be adressed by automation brought by TaCo. The main outcomes of the Malta meeting have been the definition of some preliminary traffic and operational scenarios, the elicitation of preliminary user needs and some indications about potentially beneficial automation strategies to be designed in the following phases of the project. These considerations fed D2.1 and D2.2 that have been delivered to SJU as planned in December 2016 and are now under review.
In Workpackage 3 of the project the operational needs of MATS elecited in Workpage 2 have been used as a reference to develop a prototype of automatic tools able to support the ground controller in his tasks. The resulting architecture and code will serve as input for WP 4: the prototype should be made available through the HMI of the visual language so that end-users are able to tune it.
The project technical activities so far aimed at understanding of the procedures, peculiarities and complexities of TaCo's domain of application (ground airport operations in Malta). Thus, the progress beyond the state of the art is limited at this stage.
Anyway, some results achieved so far are worthy of mention here:
- Elicitation and classification of complexity factors for Malta International Airport (see D2.1);
- Preliminary definition of potential automation strategies to support airport ground ATC operations (see D2.1 and D2.2);
- Prototyping of potential automation strategies to support airport ground ATC operations (see D3.1);
- Adaptation of the work made in Mota to the layout of Malta International Airport (see D2.2).