The long journey toward a higher level of automation in ATM

HALA¡’s workshop’s at ATACCS 2015 in Toulouse (October 2nd)

The HALA! SESAR Research Network cordially invites you to the workshop it will conduct during the ATACCS conference to be held in Toulouse (France) between Sept 30th-Oct 2nd.

The purpose and aim of this workshop is to present HALA¡’s vision of the role of automation in future air traffic management (ATM) system, including as well an analysis and state of the art on ATM and automation.

The content is based on HALA!’s position paper, that looks beyond the framework defined by SESAR and NextGen for the near future, and analyses the feasibility of higher levels of automation in ATM in the far future, taking into account the relationship between humans, organizations, and machines and scoping the allocation of functions, roles, and tasks between them.

Taking into consideration the proposed SESAR&NextGen paradigm shift (trajectory-based operations; proactive, more distributed and autonomous system) and studies developed in ATM automation in the past years, the vision goes toward a more ATM automation system operation questioning even the possibility of fully automated ATM system. The understanding of higher levels of automation in ATM considers the ‘‘overall system performance’’ as main driver for the resulting ‘‘optimal’’ ATM level of automation.

In this regard, the vision considers ATM as sociotechnical system and orchestrated organization, overcoming the former consequences of automation, where some ‘‘human errors’’ caused from automation were found, to this new vision where human motivation for their engagement in the ATM activities, will be promoted. New roles between humans, organizations, and between them and machines will be derived by considering ATM as a complex sociotechnical multi-agent system.

Under this assumption, it will be essential: to maintain a high degree of autonomy among different ATM agents and, simultaneously, an optimized level of orchestration among them. Three interdependent criteria to support the always controversial decision about where to dynamically allocate the ATM essential functions/tasks are proposed;

  • when is the ‘‘best time’’ to take an operational action,
  • where is the ‘‘best place’’ having the best picture to take it and, finally,
  • who will be the ‘‘best player’’ to implement the associated tasks.



As a result, HALA¡ advocates for a different role of automation devoted to support a temporal, institutional, and physical distributed ATM system. It is also pointed out that research in ATM automation should always take under consideration the adequate level of automation in the far future ATM system and should always ensure the safety and reliability of a highly automated ATM system. Finally considers the need to align the research efforts into two different main activities of improvement, devoted to: aircraft trajectory hierarchal, spatial, and temporal cohesion and trajectory management.

Please click here for further information and the agenda of the workshop.