Vista tactical model – Mercury: because passengers matter

Over the next decades, EU mobility is expected to progressively evolve from the gate-to-gate focus currently prevalent in the aviation and ATM industry towards a seamless and efficient door-to-door-orientated vision.  The paradigm shift from gate-to-gate (hence aircraft centered) to door-to-door (passenger-oriented) is present at virtually all strategic research documents and agendas. The paradigm shift is here to stay. From a passenger perspective, which of the following scenarios create more impact?:

  • Scenario A): a 8 minute delay in an aircraft arrival time with no connecting passengers
  • Scenario B): a 5 minute one that prevents a significant number of passengers doing a connection in that airport and subsequently expand their door-to-door trip in more than 10 hours

How can that impact be predicted in terms of time and cost? One of the very first research exercises was the POEM project (SESAR 1- WPE) etc. This project was the original seed of Mercury. Mercury has been afterwards improved, validated and completed in other reseach initiatives for SESAR and European Commission, reaching its current door-to-door status.

What is mercury?

Mercury is a modelling and simulator tool - a framework capable of measuring the performance of the air transport network. It provides a wide range of performance and mobility metrics, capable of describing in detail different air transport scenarios.

Mercury draws on extensive data, drawn from a wide range of industry sources, including airlines, airports and air navigation service providers. Mercury's data models have been demonstrated through over 5 years of research and development, plus industry consultation.

How passenger matter in mercury?

Mercury is the first air transportation network simulator that puts passengers in the centre. Each day of simulation the itineraries of more than 3 million passengers are reproduced. Each passenger has its individual profile, ticket and decisions to make. According to EU regulation 261/2004 passengers are compensated by delay and cancellations. Extended delays, aborted journeys, overnight stays there are all part of the Mercury simulator.

Of course airlines play a major role as well, Mercury incorporates costs models for canonical airline categories. Each of the airline decision of waiting for certain passengers, cancel a flight or even board the passengers and send a ready message even when a ATFCM slot was assigned is taken according to each airline rational cost model.

The secret ingedient: a spice of randomness

There is no way one could develop a simulator like Mercury taking into account every detail in the air transportation system. Some process are just too complex or simply put we do not understand yet. Whilst others are just exogenous factors far beyond the reach of the air transportation system. 

But what if we could use a different approach. In Mercury each day of operations is repeated, introducing small variations representing everyday uncertainty and exogenous factors.

Ultimately, small changes lead to completely different day of operations, delays and cancellations. Just similarly to what happens with some chaotic systems, the sensitivity to the initial conditions allow to explore overall trends and stable status, in some cases called emergence.

Interested in reading further info about Mercury? Click here to visit the website.

Author: Samuel Cristóbal (Innaxis)

VISTA: priorities and building a credible model

Setting priorities and building a credible model

In Vista, capturing the level of development of the ATM system in the 2035 and 2050 horizons is critical, and we need to ensure that the most relevant scenarios for stakeholders are prioritised during the project. A consultation with relevant expert stakeholders has been conducted to help us with these tasks. The consultation focused on obtaining the experts' view on key aspects of the project, namely: identification of potential missing metrics for the different stakeholders; prioritisation of the metrics generated by the model; identification of potentially missing factors and possible values considered for them; ranking of foreground factors (see previous blog) by relevance; ensuring that none of the factors identified as background factors should instead be considered as foreground; prioritisation of background scenarios and identification of the level of maturity of the system for 2035 and 2050 and, finally, understanding which particular results produced by Vista would be of particular interest to experts and stakeholders. The consultation questionnaire comprised twelve detailed questions and was targeted at high-profile experts in the ATM field.

The result of this activity allowed us to prioritise the metrics and scenarios that will be modelled and ensured that we had not missed any relevant source for regulations or technical evolution of the system. A second consultation is planned in order to review the firsts results obtained with the model. With these consultations, Vista maximises its impact on the community, addressing the topics that are relevant to stakeholders and validating the results obtained.

Another strength of Vista is the inclusion of key stakeholders, not just as consultation body, but as core partners in the project. Vista benefits from such partnership with airlines (SWISS, Norwegian and Icelandair), a FABEC ANSP (Belgocontrol) and airport experts (EUROCONTROL). Dedicated site visits have been carried out in Reykjavik, Oslo and Zurich to further understand the airlines' business models, needs and projected system evolution. These visits also allowed the modelling team of Vista to have first-hand access to the strategic, pre-tactical and tactical management of airlines' operations. This access ensures that the model captures the impact of the different factors as closely as possible to reality. Moreover, the airlines' involvement in the project provides crucial data and validation of preliminary results. Similarly, planned meetings in Brussels and London with Belgocontrol and EUROCONTROL will ensure that the vision of ANSPs and airports are properly considered in the model.

 

Are regulatory and business changes aligned with key ATM objectives? (Introducing the Vista project).

Vista-post

How will different regulatory and business changes affect the KPIs of ATM stakeholders in the 2035 and 2050 horizon? Are the various foreseen changes aligned to obtain improvements in key indicators? Will trade-offs emerge from different policies to be implemented? What is the impact of technology changes on different economic developments?

Vista considers these questions and examines the effects of conflicting market forces on European performance in ATM, through the evaluation of impact metrics on four key stakeholders (airlines, passenger, airports and ANSPs), and the environment. The project comprises a systematic, impact trade-off analysis using classical and complexity metrics, encompassing both fully monetised and quasi-cost impact measures. Vista will model the current, 2035 and 2050 timeframes based on various factors and their potential evolution.

The factors modelled in Vista influence the stakeholders’ choices: prices of commodities and services, regulations from national and supranational entities, and new technologies are all part of a complex socio-economic system that results in evolving business models, passenger choices, etc. These factors are divided between regulatory and business factors. Business factors may affect technology uptake and economic changes. Regulations, on their turn, may act as enablers of the technological and operational changes, e.g., the Single European Sky regulatory framework, or may directly affect the performance of some stakeholders, such as air passenger rights.

The different factors considered have been obtained from a literature review of regulations, projects, technological and operational changes. Concerning the regulations, the different areas of the ATM network and regulations applying to them have been reviewed. Communications and strategies laid down by, or foreseen by, regulatory trends have been used to identify the possible evolution of these regulations. The main source for the business factors are the SESAR projects, in particular, the high-level goals of SESAR described in its Master Plan (Ed. 2015), as well as more precise information related to the SESAR workpackages. The expected impacts of operational sub-packages in SESAR will be used to identify the impact of these on the evolution of KPIs. Some more long-term R&D research activities are also considered, in particular to be used in the 2050 scenarios of Vista. Other business factors include the price of fuel, the business models of the airlines, and changes in demand linked to the socio-economic development of Europe. Regarding the latter, many factors will be considered as closely linked and the diverse possibilities of development will be significantly influenced by outputs such as the STATFOR forecasts.

From_forces_to_scenarios_v2

In the Vista model, regulatory and business factors are classified between foreground and background factors. Background factors are grouped to generate background scenarios onto which the foreground factors will be tested. These background scenarios, identified below, define different possible evolutions for the 2035 and 2050 horizons and have been defined to identify the impact of the technology on different economic development scenarios.

Period Name Technology development Economic development
Current Current Current Current
2035 L35: Low economic, Low Techno Trajectory-based performance as defined in SESAR Low economic development
M35: High economic, Low Techno Medium economic development
H35: High economic, High Techno Performance-based performance as defined in SESAR
2050 L50: Low economic, Low Techno
M50: High economic, Low Techno High economic development with an increment on environmental-friendly passengers
H50: High economic, High Techno Enhanced performance-based performances as defined in SESAR

Examples of foreground factors, the impact of which will be individually assessed, include: regulatory changes on passenger provision schemes, fuel charges, or the introduction of smart ticketing. Foreground factors can also be grouped in higher-level categories to identify the impact of different policies on the scenarios: environmental mitigation policies (e.g., emission scheme and noise pollution regulation), regional infrastructure usage (e.g., airport access, regional infrastructure development), passenger focus modifications (e.g., passenger provision schemes and reacommodation tools) and Single European Sky (e.g., 4D trajectory management, traffic synchronisation, airspace charges). The qualitative impact of the factors, both foreground and background, on each part of the model has been identified.

VISTA_architecture_pre

Vista will necessarily model all ATM phases: strategic, pre-tactical and tactical. Factors will have different impacts on these time scales. The Vista model has been created following these temporal layers. A scenario, defined as an instantiation of foreground and background factors, will be executed by the model. The strategic layer, will use an economic model to balance the strategic demand and capacity of the different elements in the ATM network and schedules will be provided to the pre-tactical layer. The pre-tactical layer will generate flight plans, passenger itineraries and ATFM regulations. These flights and passenger itineraries will be executed tactically using the Mercury model . Mercury model has been developed on previous projects (POEM , ComplexityCosts) and allow the simulation of flights and passengers itineraries obtaining not only traditional flight-centric metric but also passengers focus ones. See our next blog (August) for more information regarding Vista tactical layer. Being a stochastic model the output of the different layers will be consolidated to analyse the results and understand the horizontal and vertical trade-offs identified. Finally, a learning loop will be used to give feedback to the strategic layer on the metrics obtained and, based on the initial expectations of the model, to adjust strategic behaviour. This will ensure that, after several iterations, a stable and realistic realisation of the scenario is obtained.

In order to capture the impact of the different factors on the model and the evolution of the system, dedicated site visits and consultation with experts have been performed (see next blog entry for more details). The Vista approach and methodology was been presented at the 2017 World ATM Congress (7-9 March 2017, Madrid) and at the 2017 ART Workshop (26 April 2017, London).

ComplexWorld: Linking Complexity and Data Science in ATM

 

This year we celebrated the 5th anniversary of ComplexWorld. As we reflect over the years to 2011, when Innaxis first launched the network, it’s easy to find many reasons to feel proud and grateful of our partners and participants of the network. ComplexWorld emerged from the idea of applying complexity science techniques to better understand the Air Traffic Management behaviour and the relationships among its different agents. At the network’s inception, it was considered a new and unfamiliar concept, but promising nonetheless. Now the concept has become a reality, after fruitful 5 years of ComplexWorld network development, along with 8 PhDs and 10 projects. The number of references in the field has increased significantly since 2011. To illustrate, the first graph below shows the growth of the number of papers published including the text “air transport” and “complex networks” since 2005. The second graph represents the number of those papers corresponding citations. (Data source: Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science)

 

 

In order to provide some direction to the purpose of the ComplexWorld network and specifically, the analysis of the air transport network as a complex system, the ComplexWorld partners Innaxis, University of Seville, University of Westminster, University of Palermo, along with NLR and DLR, identified 5 research challenges in which complexity science could provide a completely new perspective and deeper understanding of system performance. Those challenges include: resilience, metrics, emergent behaviour, data science and uncertainty, which have been our research pillars for the ComplexWorld network; enabling significant progress in those fields, previously insignificantly addressed by traditional and classical models. This the nexus of complexity science and air traffic management has garnered so much attention that soon a book will be released for the public, published under the title, “Complexity Science in air traffic management”. If you cannot wait to have it on your hands, you are in luck! The book is now available on Amazon.

Through the evolution of research within these five pillars, a key insight emerged that drove a conviction: data science was not merely one of the five pillars, but rather the key pillar that would foster the most significant and efficient progress within the other four areas. However, the aviation sector was not fully prepared to move forward quickly with the application of data science techniques as challenges related to data confidentiality, data sharing, and lack of appropriate data management infrastructures presented barriers for advancement. Therefore, with the objective of eliminating or reducing these barriers, in 2013 ComplexWorld organized the first Data Science in Aviation Workshop (DSIAW). The aim was to bring together aviation stakeholders willing to extract knowledge from their available data, with data scientists and experts from other sectors assisting by demonstrating the potential of data science with real examples of ongoing initiatives and recent work. The event was a complete success in terms of invited speaker expertise, but more importantly, the event was outstanding in terms of audience engagement, so much so that DSIAW has became an annual workshop thanks to the support of Eurocontrol and the SJU.

Year after year we have enthusiastically worked to bring relevant experts together to present their work on the application of data science techniques to enable an improvement on their business performance. Furthermore, we feel this sector is moving in the right direction as we see the number of success cases in this sector grow significantly. This year, we are organizing the 4th edition of the DSIAW, which will be celebrated September 8th and 9th at EASA HQ in Cologne. The workshop will be opened by Mr. Luc Tytgat, EASA Strategy and Safety Management Director, and will include presentations about different data science applications, including:

  • Air navigation (UK NATS and Eurocontrol-MUAC),
  • Aviation safety (Innaxis and AESA – Spanish Aviation Safety Agency),
  • Mobility (Boeing and Innaxis)
  • Infrastructure and visualization (Fraunhofer ITWM and ENAC)

Registration is now open so you are invited to join us and participate in the debates. At DSIAW you will also have the opportunity of attending the presentation of the “Complexity Challenges” report, a report in which we have developed in the framework of SESAR Exploratory Research along with 18 external experts who have provided their assessment on how the complexity challenges have been addressed by the different ComplexWorld related activities within these last five years, and the existing gaps and opportunities for future research in the field. We highly encourage you to attend this 1.5 days event and to be an active part of the definition of future research lines in the field of complexity in air transport. If you cannot attend, videos of the event will be uploaded to our vimeo channel and wiki, where you will catch some of the unprecedented conversations and become an active participant in the dialogues.

 

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SecureDataCloud – applying secure computation to ATM data

The achievement of an efficient information sharing and coordination between the different stakeholders involved in air transport and ATM is nowadays considered one of the most important priorities in aviation, with potential benefits ranging from improved safety and reduced delays, to more environmental-friendly operations. In spite of its support as a priority, the management of the different types of information is at present separated between organisations, divisions and various stakeholders and mostly isolated and with little cross-integration, due to organisational and institutional barriers that prevent the timely and free-flow of relevant data.

A new research project, called SecureDataCloud and coordinated by Innaxis, aims to solve this problem by means of secure computation techniques. Secure computation is the field of cryptology devoted to the study of performing a computation while preserving the privacy of the inputs of the proprietary parties. Nowadays, there are several problems tackled using a secure computation approach, with applications spanning from secure sealed-bid auctions, elections with an electronic voting scheme and stock transactions, through to defense applications in military operations.

More information about the projects, partners, publications, and results obtained can be found on the project’s website, http://innaxis.org/securedatacloud/

 

 

 

 

Innaxis brings together leading experts for Data Science in Aviation workshop

Complexworld-posts

Nearly 60 industry experts, academics and professionals from the fields of data science and aviation gathered in Madrid on October the 15th to attend the first ComplexWorld Network’s workshop, ‘Data Science in Aviation‘.  The workshop provided the opportunity for experts in the field to  discuss ways knowledge from aviation data could be extracted in order to enhance our understanding of the air transport system’s behaviour and the complex relation among its elements.

The workshop was motivated by the challenge of extracting ground breaking insights from the large quantities of data collected in the air transport network. The aviation sector gathers and stores a large amount of unstructured, heterogeneous data – safety data and reports, flight plans, navigation data, airport data, radar tracks – from multiple sources – airlines, ANSPs and airports. While the collection of information through different data sensors is growing exponentially, the application of data science to the data has not.  The workshop looked at how to capture the new opportunities offered by the data and close the large opportunity gap between the potential offered and the current outcomes of its analysis.

Innaxis as coordinator of the ComplexWorld Network, through which the workshop was supported, led the data science in aviation workshop initiative. Innaxis brought extensive IT expertise and experience in data-science analysis techniques to the workshop. Innaxis’s expertise in these areas has been developed through the various research programmes in which it works and through its exposure to different data science applications in a variety of fields.

The outcomes of the workshop will be made available shortly. It is our hope that these outcomes, which include new research ideas and discussions from this dynamic meeting of experts, will result in greater discussion and debate around the topic from the community as a whole. So please keep in touch and check back if you’d like to be involved in the ongoing development in this area.

Innaxis presents paper on new approach to safety at the USA and Europe ATM R&D Seminar

Safety is a critical aspect of air traffic management and it receives significant attention from the research community. This criticality leads to lower innovation in different safety aspects, ensuring that only well-known and established procedures and technologies are applied. In this context, new ways to innovate in safety assessment techniques could not only provoke a significant change in the safety levels but also enable technologies and procedures through easier and more straightforward safety analysis.

Innaxis is a firm believer in the potential of complex networks analysis and the power of Data Science techniques. We will present the paper Synchronization Likelihood in Aircraft Trajectories in the next USA/Europe Air Traffic Management R&D Seminar, held from June 10 to 13, 2013 in Chicago. We strongly believe these techniques will set the foundation for new ways of analysing safety levels in different contexts; from providing new techniques and correctly evaluating the safety levels of large airspace blocks to the actual development of predictive analytics that would assist in the implementation of new automation technologies.

Please attend Massimiliano Zanin’s presentation of his paper if you are attending the Seminar and do not hesitate to contact him if this area is of interest to you. Massimiliano is reachable on mz@innaxis.org.

 

The Federal Aviation Administration and the EUROCONTROL Organization will host the Tenth USA/Europe Seminar on ATM R&D June 10-13, 2013 in Chicago, IL, USA.

Applying Resilience Studies to Real World ATM Challenges at Innaxis

Our newest team member, Hector Ureta, tells us what it has been like working at the Innaxis Research Foundation and Institute in his first 6 months, and the evolving application of the concept of resilience beyond its original roots.

In some weeks I will reach my “semiversary” at Innaxis – a reference the team here make to the milestone of reaching a half year tenure. I am very proud to be working with the super-professional team here and felt it was time to contribute to the team’s blog and share my experience at the organisation so far. One of the things that attracted me to Innaxis, and that I have found very rewarding at the organisation, is our work in applying the concepts of resilience to ATM.

During my Aeronautical degree ‘resilience’ was described as the ability of a system to recover under abnormal conditions, generally in regards to material properties. The term usually appeared in subjects together with defining terms such as “Structures”, “Materials” or similar. Studying those subjects involved repetitive exercises that required the analysis and calculation of permanent and transient deformations after a given stress. We were required to repeat the same exercises again, this time with software, such as Catia, after some basic programming sizing the material, specifying its properties and the stress held. In short, its application and study was fairly limited.

Air Traffic, or simply ATM when referring to Air Traffic Management, was challenging in a different way, but was studied under completely different, distinct, subjects. Despite the economic crisis, airspace demand in Europe continues to grow, which lead to a focus on efficiency as the main goal of resources usage and management.

It is nice to learn new things every once in a while…[especially] when that learning takes the form of adapting previous knowledge acquired in a completely new way to a different field

My collegue Alberto wrote in his post on this blog, “It is nice to learn new things every once in a while”. I would like to add my wholehearted agreement to that sentiment and that this holds particularly true when that learning takes the form of adapting previous knowledge acquired in a completely new way to a different field. While studying, I could never imagine myself applying the material Resilience concept to ATM. Today, I not only see the clear connection but also recognise a knowledge gap and opportunity for advancement in better developing this concept within ATM. Resilience, not just efficiency, offers great opportunities to improve ATM performance.

The Air Traffic system is of a complex nature, with huge amounts of technical systems and human operators involved. Operating close to 100% efficiency, in the view of the majority of my ATM Professors, makes the ATM system sensitive to disturbances and thus vulnerable to disturbances outside our control. The complexity of the system amplifies the problem, augmenting the impact of disturbances on their way through the different ATM layers. However, over sized system buffers would decrease efficiency to unacceptable levels. Hence, a balance between efficiency on the one hand and resilience on the other is required.

Working together as a team in search of ATM Resilience is a truly wonderful and unique experience

Innaxis is leading an ongoing FP7 collaborative project  “Resilience2050” regarding these issues. The main aim is to achieve a deeper knowledge of the  resilience concept in ATM in pursuit of a more efficient and resilient future in ATM systems. Working directly with this project is challenging, interesting and has given me the opportunity to work with an exciting international consortium of world-wide  experts, not only in the Resilience concept applied to other, non-ATM, systems, but also in data mining. This team incorporates experts from academia, ATCos and top-class aviation research centers, from countries as diverse as Germany, The Netherlands, Turkey, England and Spain. Working together as a team in search of ATM Resilience is a truly wonderful and unique experience and I hope to share some of those experiences with you in posts over the coming months as we continue to address the challenges of the task and encounter both highs and lows.

I hope you have been resilient enough to reach this blog post end, Thank you all! Hector

First ComplexWorld Annual Conference

Complexworld-posts

ComplexWorld will held the first Annual Conference in Seville on July 6-8, 2011 and it will be hosted by the School of Engineering of the University of Seville.

The ComplexWorld Annual Conference is intended as a forum for Air Traffic Management scientists and PhD students, Complexity Science researchers and the ComplexWorld Network community, including Members, Participants, and SESAR WP-E investigators.

The aim of the Conference is to bring together researchers from academia, research establishments, and industry that share common interests and expertise in the field of ATM Complexity Management that lies at the intersection of Complexity Science and ATM.

The Conference will focus on new concepts and developments in areas aligned with the WP-E research theme ‘Mastering Complex Systems Safely’ which explores how Complexity Science can contribute to understand, model, and ultimately drive and optimize the behaviour and the evolution of the ATM system that emerges from the complex relationships between its different elements.
The topics of the Conference include (but are not limited to):
  • Multiple spatio-temporal scales in ATM
  • Non-determinism and uncertainty in ATM
  • Emergent behaviour in ATM
  • Complex modelling of the ATM system
  • Validation and Verification of Complex ATM models
  • Design, Control and Optimization of Complex ATM models
  • Applications of Complex Systems to improve ATM performance
  • Characterization of Disturbances in ATM
  • ATM Resilience: Analysis of disturbance propagation and system stability and agility
  • Information management and decision-making mechanisms in ATM
  • Metrics at different scales, ontology and measurement in ATM
  • Other complex socio-technical and/or transport systems.

Written contributions to topics mentioned above or similar ones are sought. Papers with innovative ideas and/or technical progress will be preferred. Please submit your abstract (one A4 page) to info@complexworld.eu. Deadlines:

April 1: Abstract submission deadline
April 18: Notification of acceptance
June 1: Full Paper submission deadline
July 6-8: Conference

We hope that this information is of your interest and encourage you to send a Paper and to attend the First ComplexWorld Annual Conference.

LOCATION
Escuela Superior de Ingenieros
, Camino de los Descubrimientos 41092 Sevilla, Spain (See the map)

REGISTRATION
Anyone interested in registering should contact Innaxis by e-mail (info@complexworld.eu) including the following information:
– Name and institution:
– Arrival and departure days.

Madri+d, leader in Spanish R&D communication, announces ComplexWorld Network

Complexworld-posts

On the 21rst of October, Madri+d posted an announcement of the official launch of ComplexWorld in their online weekly newsletter.

Madri+d is a network that brings together public and private research institutions and industry with de aim of improving regional competitiveness by transfer of knowledge. As one of the few resources that compiles all Spanish R&D news, it is a widely renowned as the go-to place for the latest articles from the government, industry, and academia.

The article stresses the aim of the network as bringing together researchers from universities, research establishments, and companies that share common interests and expertise in the study of Air Traffic Management from the Complexity Science perspective. The ComplexWorld network is led by Innaxis. More information can be found here.

The article, written in Spanish, reaches out to a large Spanish community and motivates them to become involved with the network and with European initiatives in general.

The Network is moving at a fast pace and the news concerning it has been widely disseminated. Please refer to the past blog post concerning the Network´s first draft of the White Paper as well as the SESAR WP-E Network Call for PhDs. Any questions can be sent to info@complexworld.eu.

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