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AGENT Report Summary

Project ID: 699313
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - AGENT (Adaptive self-Governed aerial Ecosystem by Negotiated Traffic)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-07-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

ATC interventions to preserve safety distances between aircraft have some inherent shortages when scalability problems arise, that can lead to well-known sector saturation and frequent separation infringements in front of an increment of the traffic demand. To address the safety-net drawbacks in present and future air traffic, the project AGENT claims for a collaborative, orchestrated and proactive separation management system considering a socio-technological approach in which both human behavior and automation will play an important role. The concept seeks for a extended time horizon in the conflict resolution process, in order to achieve better compatibility among the safety net layers.
AGENT aims at contributing to enhancement of the overall performance of the air traffic system, mainly targeting the separation management layer and its connections with trajectory management and collision avoidance. The overall performance of the system shall be primarily increased by maintaining safety, and improving the efficiency for all agents of the system.
AGENT addresses the following key objectives:
• To propose an innovative automation-based future system design supporting a shift from a nowadays centrally controlled ATM system to a distributed system, in which aircraft and ATC collaborate to form adaptive aerial ecosystems, to find an optimal compromise accounting for safety, capacity and cost-efficiency aspects.
• To develop ATC- and Pilot-side decision making tools to transform aircraft and ATC into intelligent agents that can communicate with each other using machine-to-machine interfaces.
• To build ontology for knowledge representation, reasoning and machine-to-machine communication between intelligent agents.
• To verify the AGENT tools using real traffic information and validate results by means of the scenarios in a simulated environment with traceable and transparent information.
• To demonstrate and quantify the potential for the innovative ATM design to provide benefits in safety, capacity and efficiency of ATM operations, ensuring a wider acceptance of the research results.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The main efforts in the third reporting period have been made towards definition and development of the airborne decision making tools, ontology concept, and communication protocol and mechanisms for interaction between the ecosystem agents. The basic concept of the multi-agent simulation tool for analysis of ecosystems has been defined as well as procedure for the modules integration into the Open Demonstrator (OD). An additional workload of the project team has been done towards creation of the exploitation plan, as well as identification of the exploitation impact assessment.
The work packages WP1: Scope definition and user needs analysis, and WP3: Development of ATC smart monitoring and analytics tools have been successfully elaborated. Deliverables from both packages have been accepted. WP5: Verification and validation, is currently active for the verification of developed algorithms.
The first airborne tool release (WP2: Design and development of E-TCAS Decision Making Tools), the multi-objective state space analysis tool (MSSAT), is intended for generation of the ecosystem resolution trajectories. MSSAT has been developed as a step-wise algorithm. It is divided into two functional blocks: 1. Ground-based exploration of the conflict-free airspace; 2. Airborne selection of the resolution zones and generation of resolution trajectories. The MSSAT is developed to be complemented by the multi-agent simulation (MAS) tool, identified in the task T2.2. A full deployment of MSSAT is expected after its verification phase using diverse traffic scenarios.
The second airborne tool, MAS tool, aims at representing the negotiation process between the ecosystem aircraft, within the tracking phase, before the resolutions have been initialized. An accent during this reporting period was placed on definition of the concept of the agents’ behavior and functionality for the flexible autonomous actions. The agent technology fully relies on the negotiation ontology requirements, communication interchange setting and agent’s policies (D4.1: Report on the ontology). The MAS tool is an important objective to support the Open Demonstrator (OD) end-users in testing different airspace users' preferences, while enhancing agents with a variable negotiation capacity (i.e. conservative, competitive, cooperative, etc.), to satisfy the airline business goals.
The work related to the OD within the reporting period (T3.2: Open Demonstrator) has referred to the modular design and integration, definition of the graphical user interface and the input-output data format. The structural design of the OD will support multi-level operations and different simulation processes, and a wide range of traffic scenarios. As expected, those scenarios will be used for a comprehensive OD validation.
Regarding WP4: Ontology development for communication among agents, the project team has further developed the XML scheme of the ontology (T4.1), defining a structure of the message exchanges among the ecosystem members, and setting a basis for the communication interchange between the agents with in the OD.
Since one of the objectives is exploitation of research results and conduction of demonstration activities to engage stakeholders in testing the AGENT tools, additional efforts on some modifications and improvements of the exploitation plan in this reporting period have been made. The Plan for Exploitation and Dissemination of Results (PEDR) completely summarized the beneficiaries’ strategy and concrete actions related to protection, dissemination and exploitation of the project results. Furthermore, an initial impact assessment on the exploitation activities has been set-up, D6.3: Report on Exploitation Impact Assessment. To reach the exploitation objectives the qualitative and quantitative monitoring metrics have been introduced.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

It is expected that AGENT operational framework supports:
• Highly automated ATM environment with minimal human intervention, by shifting the decision making process from the ATC system to the airborne agents.
• Friendly human interaction within highly automated system. Ecosystems strive to facilitation of the airborne and ground-based human interactions through development of novel operational procedures.
• State space search for the compromised solutions in the ecosystem resolution process.
The AGENT impact will be kept viable in the following aspects:
- Demonstration and quantification of the potential for higher levels of automation as well as provision of the benefits in safety, capacity and efficiency of ATM operations.
- Expression of the potential for improved cost-effectiveness and contributions to decision support techniques for safety-critical situations.
An extent, to which the expected impact on results will be achieved, is foreseen as two-fold:
- Cooperation between the consortium members in the scope of developed AGENT tools will certainly produce an impact on the overall project scope, especially if considering different orientations of industry and scientific communities.
- Collaborative networking between the AGENT consortium and other organizations, such as SESAR JU, EUROCONTROL, etc.

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