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Growing demand for use of the National Airspace System (NAS) has resulted in research and development programs to modernize the air traffic control system. The primary focus of the US FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) plan is to transform the air transportation system into a more flexible, adaptive, and highly automated system capable of handling two to three times the current traffic. According to the NextGen plan, Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) is designed to improve the safety, capacity, and efficiency of the NAS. ADS-B works by broadcasting flight information such as the flight number, position, speed and intent using satellite-based navigation systems, to other aircraft or air traffic control facilities. Our research interests focus on the interoperability of the ADS-B data link with existing surveillance systems and operational ability of ADS-B to assist the flight crew by meeting safety assurance. Because the NAS involves a multitude of inter-acting agents and technologies, the high complexity of integrated sensing and decision support for the air traffic control is the main challenge. We have developed a simulation environment which includes an air traffic model, existing surveillance systems, ADS-B systems, and wireless channel model. The critical issue of the interoperability and collaboration between existing systems and ADS-B is validated. Two parts of the interference issue are analysed: (1) interference from ADS-B to existing systems, and (2) interference from existing systems to the ADS-B. It is shown that ADS-B meets the performance requirements of both air-to-ground and air-to-air ranges. Furthermore, the effect of ground surveillance systems and aircraft density to the ADS-B performance along the flight path is analysed.
Date of Conference: 17-19 April 2012