All layers come together

Author: Luis Delgado

And everything comes together: the final integration of the three layers has been achieved.

Vista is now able to model the full ATM phases from the strategic planning of flights, schedules and passenger flows to the tactical execution and tracking of individual flights and passenger itineraries, while considering pre-tactical flight plans, ATFM regulations and passengers itineraries generation. The model capabilities allow us to model Current, 2035 and 2050 scenarios with different system evolution (Background factors) and testing selected factors (Foreground factors).

Vista combines different modelling techniques (agent-based modelling, data mining techniques applied to historical data, stochastic modelling, event-driven simulation) to produce a holistic view of the ATM system across the different ATM phases and stakeholders.

Traffic evolution through Europe is captured by the model while key metrics identified and tracked across the different scenarios for different stakeholders (airlines, airports, ANSPs, passengers and environment) for the three ATM layers.

Vista has shown its capabilities not only to assess key metrics for a given scenario but to capture their evolution across the different ATM phases. Vista has extended current classical metrics suggesting and estimating new indicators such as cost of uncertainty.

The close collaboration between universities, research institutes and key stakeholders (ANSPs and airlines) has proven successful on addressing the challenging topic of analysing in a holistic manner the trade-offs that emerge from applying different factors on different stakeholders. Vista has shown how complex interactions can be modelled and captured to assess the full impact of new regulatory and technological changes in the ATM system.

But this is not the end of this exciting adventure: Vista website and the different deliverables produced will remain available, further dissemination of model details and key results will be carried out and do not miss our final deliverable (D5.2 Final Assessment Report) and the report on the final results (D1.2 Final Project Results Report).

Domino: The structure

Author: Luis Delgado

Domino’s project is structured in 6 workpackages as shown in the following image:

WP3 will analyse the current and future structure of the ATM system and define the mechanisms and the case studies that will be tested by Domino. These first case studies are the investigative case studies which will set the first set of scenarios to be tested. WP4 will develop an Agent Based Model (ABM) which will be able to execute the different scenarios. In Domino, we understand the different actors in the system as agents which try to optimise their utility functions subject to the system constraint and the environment. The system constraints are changed when different mechanism are implemented as different options arise; and the environment in ATM is subject to uncertainty that the actors need to manage.

The metrics generated by the ABM will cover the impact on both flight and passengers. These outcomes will be analysed by WP5 where a Complexity Science toolbox will be used in order to generate knowledge on the status of the system. Traditional and complex metrics will be generated but also specific network analysis to understand how the elements in the system are coupled and where the bottlenecks are generated. Once again this dual view flight an passenger perspective of the system is core in these analyses.

WP2 will provide support to the other technical packages in terms of data requirements, acquisition and preparation. Domino will model a past day of operations with new mechanisms applied to it.

Finally, Domino requires close collaboration and feedback from stakeholders and experts. This will be achieved with the interactions in WP6. The mechanisms will be subject to a consultation, the model developed in WP4 will be calibrated with the help of stakeholders and the results of the investigative case studies shared in a workshop (to be run in Spring 2019). This workshop be the forum where adaptive case studies will be selected. These case studies try to mitigate some of the network issues identified on the investigative case studies results. The adaptive case studies will be run again from WP3 to WP5 to develop the Domino's methodology: you have a new mechanism (technological or operational change) and you'd like to learn about its impact in the ATM system; this mechanism is modelled within the ABM framework; tested with the Complexity Science toolbox; and once hotspots are identified can be mitigated creating new scenarios to test!

Keep in touch to learn more or provide feedback to Domino and follow our updates regarding the preliminary results and the workshop!

See http://www.domino-eu.com for more info on the project.

Domino: The knock-on effect

AUTHOR: Luis Delgado

The objective of Domino is to analyse the coupling of elements in the ATM system and how changes (for example, by implementing different mechanism) have an impact on the interrelationships between elements. In order to achieve this, Domino will develop a set of tools, a methodology and a platform to assess the coupling of ATM systems from a flight and a passenger perspective.

Different actors in the ATM system might have different views of its elements and their criticality. For this reason, Domino adds the passenger's view to the more classic flight-centred vision.

In Domino, the ATM system is seen as a set of elements that are related to each other by how the different actors (airlines, flights, passengers, airports, etc.) use them. The behaviour of these actors depend on the available rules of the system. These rules are defined, partially, by the mechanisms that are in place. Complexity Science tools will allow us to understand how the elements in the system are interconnected and how these connections change when the system is modified.

Domino will develop an Agent Based Modelling platform to capture the different systems' relations, and it will focus on three mechanism, implemented and deployed with different scope: Dynamic Cost Indexing (DCI), User Driven Prioritisation Process (UDPP) and Extended Arrival Manager (E-AMAN). Domino will provide a view of the effect of deploying solutions in different manners, e.g., harmonised vs. local/independent deployment.

If a piece in the system is knocked which others are going to be affected? Let Domino tell us!

See http://www.domino-eu.com for more info on the project.

SafeClouds presented in the EU-US workshop

Last January, a team of European and American entities organised a workshop on transatlantic research with the support of the European Commission. The event was hosted by the FAA in their facilities at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City. Those mostly in attendance were US and European companies interested in how the different research threads could be boosted through international cooperation.

Among the subjects discussed during the three day event, data analytics was mentioned several times as a interesting area with applicability to different areas in industrial research. Particularly, safety data analytics was covered in three presentations. First, the FAA presented their +10-year old programme ASIAS, which collects data from more than 40 carriers and has been leading the developments in this field for more than a decade. Second, EASA presented the Data4Safety programme, recently launched and in a proof-of-concept stage. Lastly, Innaxis presented the research programme SafeClouds.eu, including the latest technological developments and how they could complement the existing initiatives by providing and exploring new research avenues.

Junior Researcher in Software modelling

Innaxis is currently seeking a software-modelling researcher (entry to junior level) to join its research team in Madrid, Spain. We look for a talented and highly motivated individual who wants to pursue a research career in the field of socio-technological systems modelling and simulation. Any individual with a great dose of imagination and problem-solving skills, along with algorithmic mind and passion are encouraged to apply.

As a software modeller, you will be developing algorithms to simulate the intricacies of socio-technological systems, such as the air transportation system and future concepts of European urban mobility. You will be applying several modelling techniques from agent based modelling, to event-driven simulation and stochastic modelling. You will also work with our Data Science team for hybrid approaches, eg. data-driven simulation tools and prescriptive analytics.

About

Innaxis is a private independent, non-profit, research institute focused on data science and its applications; most notably in aviation, air traffic management, and mobility. As an independent entity, Innaxis decides its own research agenda and has a decade of experience in European research programmes with more than 30 successfully executed research projects.

The Innaxis team consists of an interdisciplinary group of scientists, developers, engineers and programme managers. We work together with an extensive network of external partners and collaborators in Europe, including private companies, universities, public entities and other research institutes.

Skills

The ideal candidate complies with the following set of skills:

  • University degree on Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and/or Engineering.
  • MSc or PhD not required but positively evaluated. Similarly, professional experience is positively evaluated but is not a requirement.
  • Proficient in Python and knowledge of other modern languages.
  • Understanding of different programming paradigms, eg. functional programming.
  • Expertise with the most common algorithm strategies for problem solving, eg. recursive, divide and conquer, dynamic programming, branch and bound, backtracking, greedy and heuristic algorithms.
  • Strong background in statistics.
  • Experience or knowledge of data science, eg. knowledge discovery in databases (artificial intelligence, machine learning), data visualisation.
  • Excellent English communication skills (written and oral), as it is the working language at Innaxis.
  • Great dose of imagination, problem solving skills and passion.

Knowledge of the European air transportation system is highly desirable.

Benefits

The successful candidate will be offered a position as a software-modelling researcher, including a unique set of benefits:

  • Become part of a young, dynamic, highly qualified, collaborative and heterogeneous international team.
  • Flexible working environment, schedule and location.
  • A horizontal hierarchy, small team of researchers working closely with both creativity and ownership.
  • Long-term and stable position; Innaxis has been steadily growing since its foundation ten years ago.
  • Salary adjusted to skills, experience and education.
  • The possibility to develop a unique career outside of mainstream: academics, private companies and consulting.
  • No outsourcing, all tasks will be performed at Innaxis offices.
  • Opportunity to travel in Europe following the research initiatives.
  • An agile working methodology; Innaxis recently implemented JIRA/Scrum and all the research is done on a collaborative wiki/Confluence.

Applying

IMPORTANT: Interested candidates should send their CV, along with an interest letter (around 400 words), and any other relevant information that supports their application to recruitment@innaxis.org. No applications will be considered otherwise.

If your application is accepted, you will be contacted and the interview process will start. We do not rely on a HR department and personally review and interview all candidates.

 

How long?

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With the imminent publication of the DATASET2050 project results, this seems an ideal moment to compare a recent trip with one of the key project outcomes, the average door-to-door travel time.

DATASET2050 modelling of passenger journeys within Europe has found the average door-to-door time to be 6 hours, some way off the Flightpath 2050 target of 90% of travellers being able to complete their journey within 4 hours. Of this 6 hour average, the time passengers spend at the departure airport is almost as long as the flight itself.

Out of interest, I timed each phase of a recent work trip between south London and central Madrid – from the front door of my home to the final destination. The journey took place on a weekday without undue disruption affecting any part of it.

Time taken for each phase journey:

  • Door-to-kerb: 64 minutes from my front door to the airport, travelling by bus and train, including walking and waiting time.
  • Kerb-to-gate: 78 minutes spent within the departure terminal, including check-in and security processes, plus walking, refreshments and waiting time.
  • Gate-to-gate: 175 minutes taken from aircraft boarding at Gatwick to alighting at Barajas. Of this, 109 minutes was in the air, the remaining 66 minutes on the ground (i.e. boarding, taxiing-out, taxiing-in and alighting).
  • Gate-to-kerb: 43 minutes taken from the arrival gate, through immigration and customs processes, plus walking time (note carry-on baggage only, so no waiting around to reclaim luggage).
  • Kerb-to-Door: 40 minutes from the airport to the hotel by metro, including walking and waiting time.

The overall door-to-door time comes out at 6 hours 40 minutes – worse than average! 27% of this time was spent in the air, with a further 34% spent at the departure airport (i.e. kerb-to-gate plus the ground portion of gate-to-gate at Gatwick). Admittedly some of the time spent in the departure terminal was unused door-to-kerb ‘buffer’ time (to allow for problems travelling to the airport), however a good proportion of the kerb-to-gate time was there ‘just in case’.

AUTHOR: GRAHAM TANNER

Jet-bridges: The gateway to time-wasting?

Author: Pete Hullah

So you walked for what seems like miles to get to your gate. You've just queued for an age to have your boarding-card scanned and your passport checked. "Bon voyage" says the attendant. Welcome to the jet bridge, or Passenger Boarding Bridge (PBB) in the jargon. A claustrophobic metal box, often not air-conditioned, where you can now stand in another queue, at the front of which a business-class passenger is slowly trying to place too much luggage into the overhead bin while simultaneously talking into a telephone, apparently oblivious to the world behind. When you land, you'll have another interminable walk from your gate to passport-control/luggage-reclaim/exit.

And ever was it so, and ever will it be so.

But why is it like that? This walking and queuing is a constraint on mobility and on the EU goal of having 90% of intra-EU32 air passengers undertaking their journey in less than four hour, door-to-door. There must be something we can do to reduce this.

Why do we walk so far in airports?

In the early days of civil aviation, passengers were led on foot from the terminal to the plane and climbed a mobile staircase to board it; the reverse process applied upon landing. This is still the case in some smaller airports. As the number of flights increased, it became difficult to park planes close to the terminal, thus the walk (sometimes in the rain!) lengthened and more staff were needed to marshal the passengers. From the early 1960s, airports started installing piers and PBBs that made marshalling easy and kept passengers dry. With the development of the hub, PBBs helped passengers transfer between flights within a short time.

But PBBs meant that the gates at an airport have to be spaced far-enough apart to allow aircraft to park at them safely; at least an aircraft wingspan between them therefore. (Some airports reduce the distance a bit by curving the piers of having circular satellites - Paris CDG Terminal 2F and CDG Terminal 1 are examples of this).

Aircraft wingspans can range from some 25m for regional jets like the E170 and CRJ and around 35m for B737s and A320s, to more than 65m for B777s and B747s and even nearly 80m for A380s. The spacing, or combination of spacings, used at a given airport depends on that airport's traffic but it is fair to consider an average 40m walk or travellator from one gate to the next. With a gate either side of the pier we have an average of 20m walk per gate - plus any additional walk (usually a shopping mall) from security/border-control/etc. to the first gate.

Why so much queuing?

160 passengers or so have to wait at the gate while an A320 is prepared to accommodate them and they can board, generally through just one PBB attached to the front door. In order to improve the time it take to actually seat passengers on the plane, airlines often request people to pass through the gate as a function of the "zone", or group of rows, of the aircraft they're seated in - generally starting from the rows at the back. However, it is impossible to impose such a sequence and additionally, business class passengers (seated at the front) are generally advised that they can "board at [their] convenience" thereby blocking other passengers while they stow their cabin luggage. If passengers boarded in the correct sequence boarding time could be massively reduced.

So why not scrap the jet bridge?

Scrapping the jet bridge could be a solution to both these problems and enable a real reduction in time wasted. Isn't it time we re-thought about buses?

Buses are already a feature of airports.

  • Because airlines are charged more for parking at the gate and for using PBBs than for parking further away and using buses some, particularly low-fare airlines, tend to prefer this solution. This is especially the case if the plane has overnighted.
  • A plane could have docked at the wrong section of the airport - an incoming international flight parked at the international terminal will be a domestic outbound whose gate is at the domestic terminal; the domestic passengers are bussed to the airside of the international gate.
  • At Washington Dulles, "mobile lounges" that rise to the aircraft door take international passengers directly to immigration thereby saving time and heightening security by avoiding "losing" passengers on the air-side of the controls.

Now if you ask anyone about buses or mobile lounges at an airport they will cringe! But given that they are uncomfortable - most passengers have to stand in them - that there's no distinction between business and economy classes, and that airport policy seems to be to cram as many passengers as possible into one of them before it moves off, that dislike is understandable. The reason for this overcrowding is mostly economic - why employ 3 drivers when you can squeeze all of the passengers into 2 buses. With the advent of automated transport, this argument is removed.

If aircraft parked at stands by runways, less taxiing would be needed than for getting back to a terminal (especially from the new runways at Frankfurt or Schiphol, for example) and there would be no need for taxiing aircraft to cross runways, which brings a risk of runway incursion accident. Buses use much less fuel to carry the same number of passengers (and they could be electric) and they can use simple tunnels to cross runways.

Airport buses v2

If bus loading concourses were designed like a train station under the pier with several buses per flight lined up perpendicular to the pier, the entire width of bus-train, pavement and escalator would be some 5-6 metres per A320. 30 gates would therefore require 180m as opposed to the 600m required today.

Using multiple buses allows embarkation and disembarkation from both the front and rear doors. This can therefore speed up these processes, provided the departing passengers have been assigned to buses according to their seat zone on the plane (rarely the case today). Access to each bus of a bus-train could be controlled by automatic gates opened by scanning a boarding card, thus ensuring correct zoning of the passengers; the business-class bus could be more comfortable than the economy-class ones. Additionally, the buses could be available well before the plane was ready for boarding, taking the place of waiting areas - no pier seating required - and enable the gate process to be executed smoothly at the passenger's convenience and finished on time. Additional seating could be placed on an upper floor in the shopping area.

Once the bus-train has arrived at the aircraft, doors can be opened in sequence to allow passengers to board smoothly. As with the mobile lounges at Dulles, buses can take passengers directly to where they need to be - the central immigration/transfer/luggage-reclaim area - rather than their having to walk down long piers.

A well-designed bus transfer system could reduce walking, boarding and taxiing time at an airport and considerably help reach Europe's 4-hour door-to-door target.

ENTRY LEVEL/JUNIOR DATA ENGINEER

Innaxis is currently seeking for a Data Engineer (Entry Level/Junior ) to join its deployment team, Tadorea. We are based in Madrid, Spain. We look for talented and highly motivated data engineers who want to pursue and lead a career outside of the more mainstream, conventional alternatives. Individuals with a great dose of imagination, problem solving skills, flexibility and passion are encouraged to apply.

As a Data Engineer, you will help the team to design and integrate complete solutions for Big Data architectures; from data extract, load and transform processes until data storage, life cycle, management and delivery for analysis. Always making use of the latest technologies and solutions for the ultimate performance.

Skills wanted
Data Engineers at the Innaxis spin off, work very closely with the rest of the Data Science team, so a broader knowledge and a varied skillset will be very much appreciated.Candidates would be evaluated according to the following items (fulfilling the complete list is not a mandatory requirement)

  • University degree on Computer Science
  • MSc or PhD not required but positively evaluated
  • Professional experience is not a must, although it might be positively evaluated.
  • Proficient in a variety of programming languages, for instance: Python, Scala, Java, R or C++ and up to date on the newest software libraries and APIs, e.g. Tensorflow, Theano.
  • Experience with acquisition, preparation, storage and delivery of data, including concepts ranging from ETL to Data Lakes.
  • Knowledge of the most commonly used software stacks such as LAMP, LAPP, LEAP, OpenStack, SMACK and similar.
  • Familiar with some of the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS platforms currently available such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and similar.
  • Understanding of the most popular knowledge discovery and data mining problems and algorithms; predictive analytics, classification, map reduce, deep learning, random forest, support vector machines and such.
  • Continuous interest for the latest technologies and developments, e.g. blockchain, Terraform.
  • Excellent English communication skills (written and oral). It is the working language at Innaxis.
  • And of course, great doses of imagination, problem solving skills, flexibility and passion.
Benefits
The successful candidate will be offered a position as a Data Engineer, including a unique set of benefits:

  • Being part of a young, dynamic, highly qualified, collaborative and heterogeneous international team.
  • Flexible working environment, schedule and location.
  • A horizontal hierarchy, all researchers’ opinions matter.
  • Long term and stable position. Innaxis is steadily growing since its foundation ten years ago.
  • Salary adjusted to skills, experience and education.
  • The possibility to develop a unique career outside of mainstream: academics, private companies and consulting.
  • No outsourcing whatsoever, all tasks will be performed at Innaxis offices.
  • An agile working methodology; Innaxis recently implemented JIRA/Scrum and all the research is done on a collaborative wiki/Confluence.
Applying
IMPORTANT: Interested candidates should send their CV, together with a interest letter (around 400 words) and any other relevant information supporting their application to recruitment@innaxis.org .You will be contacted further and a personal selection process will start. We deal personally with all candidates.

10 years later… and so much to come!

bday-01

This year marks Innaxis’ 10th Anniversary. A most remarkable date that we are very happy to celebrate and share with you. This decade -and the 30 projects developed so far- have provided us the opportunity of creating solid relationships with trusted partners and strengthening those links through successful collaborative stories. We consider you as part of this trusted network of partners, colleagues and friends and we feel very grateful for it.

As you surely know, Innaxis was founded with the objective of finding applications of Complexity Science to address problems of real socio-technical systems. From that (quite abstract) idea, we have done our (exciting and challenging) way to become a reference research organization at the confluence of Complexity Theory, Data Science and Societal Challenges, mainly in the Aviation and Mobility sector. This rapid evolution has been possible, and even more stimulating, thanks to people like you and organizations like yours, who have accompanied us in this journey.

Addressing real-life problems through breakthrough innovation requires a clear focus on applied research and a close collaboration with end-users to ensure the solutions meet users´ expectations and help in solving their needs. To effectively apply some of the research results obtained, we launched some time ago a new venture called Tadorea as a spin-off of Innaxis. Tadorea focuses on applying Knowledge Discovery and Machine Learning solutions to the aviation sector, leveraging on massive data analytics. We strongly believe on the potential of this promising area, and so David Pérez has been appointed as General Manager of Tadorea to take the lead of our spin-off efforts. David will nevertheless stay very well connected to Innaxis by being nominated to its Board of Trustees.

And it is also time to give new responsibilities to people who have been with us for a long time and have shown an outstanding capacity and performance, combined with personal styles which are quite unique. Both Paula López-Catalá as Programme Director and Samuel Cristóbal as Science & Technology Director, are newly appointed to these most relevant functions. Together with them, David, Arantxa Villar as Finance Director and Carlos Álvarez Pereira as President, will integrate the Management Team to pursue our -even more- ambitious goals in this new era which we are much willing to share, explore and enjoy with you.

How do you catch a plane?

Dataset-post

How do you catch a plane? More interestingly: what are the stages of your door-to-door journey when an airline flight is involved? They’re most likely not all the same as anyone else’s.

There are a myriad ways of getting from your starting point (home, office, hotel) to the airport – from “door” to “kerb”. It could be by private car – whether “kiss-and-fly” (driven by family or friend), a ride-share with another passenger/co-worker, a taxi/minicab or their modern app-based equivalents, or we can just drive ourselves and park in the long-term or short-term car park (or maybe an off-site car park which then took you to your terminal by shuttle bus). It could be by bicycle or motorbike. It could be by bus, coach, tram, train, metro, or a combination of these – but how did you get to the stop/station for first one; walking, taxi, driving, “kiss-and-ride”, cycling – and where did the last one drop you off: the terminal, the airport transport hub? You may have driven, and then had to return, a hire car (if this is a return leg or your trip) and then took the hire company’s shuttle. If you left from an airport hotel, you most probably took their shuttle.

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Getting through the airport (from “kerb” to “gate”) also involves many options. Did you check in online or do you have to do it at the terminal? Do you have bags to check in? Do you have to go through passport control? How long is the queue at the security check? How much buffer time did you leave, that you can now spend browsing around the shops? How many miles do you have to walk to get to your gate? Is your flight delayed?

Your answers to these questions (and their equivalents for the “gate” to “kerb” and “kerb” to “door” legs once your flight has landed), as well as the process for the actual flight(s) from gate-to-gate (including any transfers), have a bearing on how long your total journey will take. To be able to determine where there is room for reduction in this journey-time, and where research must be directed to initiate this reduction, in order to meet the ACARE goal of 4 hours door-to-door for intra-EU journeys, the DATASET 2050 team have analysed the component times of the current air journey in detail. This work is presented in the project’s deliverable 4.1 – Current Supply Profile.

Data for such analysis is hard to come by. Much of it is proprietary and, if it’s available at all, is sold at a high price – too high for this project. That which is available generally concerns all passengers, rather than just those on intra-EU travel; are people really likely to ride on one of the scheduled overnight coaches from Edinburgh to Heathrow to take a short-haul flight?

Making use of tools such as those provided by Google Maps, DATASET2050 researchers have been able to see the time taken to access airports by car, bicycle and public transport for a selection of airports.

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 Berlin Tegel access-egress times by (L-R) bicycle, public transport, and car

(NB: scales are different, see them full size below)

These results and the many others included in D4.1 will help colleagues working on the next steps in the DATASET2050 project determine which parts of the different segments of your door-to-door journey can be speeded up, and where research and development is needed to further reduce our journey times.

 

 

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