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Stream Option Manager (SOM): automated integration of aircraft separation, merging, stream management, and other air traffic control functions

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1 Author(s)
Niedringhaus, W.P. ; Mitre Corp., McLean, VA, USA

Stream Option Manager (SOM) is a proposed concept for automated integration of aircraft separation, merging and stream management, using linear programming techniques. It was developed as part of a research and development initiative for air traffic control (ATC) automation concepts, sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and performed by MITRE Corporation. SOM is research; it has not been approved by the FAA for use in future ATC. SOM's purpose is to resolve possible problems involving multiple aircraft with given flight paths. Each aircraft must be separated by a minimum distance from every other aircraft at all times, and certain sets of aircraft (e.g., those about to land at a particular airport) must be merged or metered (lined up, or separated in trail by a given distance). Aircraft in sets called streams must be separated in the along-route direction at all times. Each aircraft is also subject to certain speed limits. Given the pilot-preferred flight paths, and separation, metering, stream, and speed requirements, SOM finds modified flight paths for each aircraft that satisfy all the requirements yet stay as close as possible to the pilot-preferred paths. SOM's algorithm represents the (x, y, z) positions of each aircraft at future times as variables in a linear program. The requirements are expressed or approximated by linear inequalities or equalities. Pilot preferences are approximated by a linear objective function. The SOM algorithm has been implemented successfully in a prototype simulation in 2D. Scenarios with up to 15 aircraft and 24 separation and/or merging problems have been resolved

Published in:

Systems, Man and Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:25 ,  Issue: 9 )