Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New communication systems to bring order to air traffic chaos

Date:
June 6, 2011
Source:
The Research Council of Norway
Summary:
Averting chaos in Europe’s skies will require replacing systems that are up to 50 years old. Air traffic throughout Europe is being reorganized to meet the challenges ahead. Whereas pilots currently communicate verbally with air traffic controllers, this information will be digitalized in the future. One purpose is to make the information available to multiple user groups, such as ground crews. Passengers may see prices drop a bit, and find that their journeys take less time overall thanks to the new technology.

Averting chaos in Europe's skies will require replacing systems that are up to 50 years old. Air traffic throughout Europe is now being reorganised to meet the challenges ahead.

"Current communication systems have been in use since the 1960s and 1970s," states Jan Erik Håkegård of the Norwegian research institution SINTEF. "They will not be able to deal with the pressing need for greater capacity."

Dr Håkegård heads the project Spectrum Efficient Communication for Future Aeronautical Services (SECOMAS), established to develop new air traffic communication technology. The project receives funding under the Research Council's Large-scale Programme on Core Competence and Growth in ICT (VERDIKT).

Intranet for air traffic

Whereas pilots currently communicate verbally with air traffic controllers, this information will be digitalised in the future. One purpose is to make the information available to multiple user groups, such as ground crews.

"In the future, information will be largely digital and stored in an Internet 'cloud', and communication will function like an intranet," explains Dr Håkegård.

Will benefit passengers

"Travellers will probably not notice the changes much," adds the project manager, "which is exactly what we intend."

"Passengers may even see prices drop a bit, and find that their journeys take less time overall, but by and large these factors won't have a major impact on their experience. By contrast, if we didn't carry out this upgrade, they would really feel it -- the increased flight activity would mean sky-high prices and a large number of delays."

Better information flow

Coordinating a large network of many aircraft is extremely challenging; if one flight is delayed it affects all others. Furthermore, once delays arise, it is a major endeavour to reallocate the necessary flight paths.

The conversion to digital services in the aviation industry is a comprehensive undertaking with strict requirements governing the new communication technology.

"A set of digital services for pilots has already been developed," explains Dr Håkegård. "The system will give them information about the status of their aircraft, the location of other aircraft, what kind of weather to expect, and where they can fly to increase air traffic efficiency."

The result will be fewer delays, shorter flight times, and a better flow of information between airline and airport personnel.

Flights planned in detail

Currently, a plane is not allocated a landing slot until it is close to the airport, which often means that pilots must spend some time circling while they wait their turn in busy traffic. The technology under development will reduce this kind of waste.

"By the time the plane leaves its gate before take-off," says Dr Håkegård, "the flight crew will have a detailed schedule showing where they should be at any given time. This allows them to plan the flight with much greater precision."

Efficient and greener

Reorganising all aviation traffic across national borders to raise efficiency as well as capacity is one of the EU's most ambitious priority areas. The initiative is absolutely necessary in order to deal with future increases in air traffic, not to mention challenges related to safety and the environment.

"Europe's airspace is very fragmented today," says Dr Håkegård. "Once we implement integrated management, we will have greater control over flight activities and be able to fly more direct routes more often than what is currently possible."

Punctuality will also be substantially improved once more tasks are entrusted to the new technology, according to the project manager, who stresses that the systems being developed will in no way compromise current safety standards.

Efficient air traffic and lower fuel consumption will also benefit the environment. One long-term objective behind the reorganisation is to reduce average flying time by 8-14 minutes per flight while minimising fuel consumption and thereby CO2 emissions.

Adaptations needed

The European initiative's technological and operational dimension is entitled Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR). The SECOMAS project's contribution to the overall initiative is development of the technology to digitalise communications between flight crew and airport personnel.

Mass production and gradual installation of the new technology will begin in 2014. But special challenges posed by the geography in countries such as Norway require some special adaptations.

"Norway extends over great distances with little infrastructure and many mountains compared to Central and Southern Europe," says Dr Håkegård. "This requires that the systems be adapted for Norwegian conditions."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Research Council of Norway. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Research Council of Norway. "New communication systems to bring order to air traffic chaos." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110531101023.htm>.
The Research Council of Norway. (2011, June 6). New communication systems to bring order to air traffic chaos. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110531101023.htm
The Research Council of Norway. "New communication systems to bring order to air traffic chaos." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110531101023.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) — British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) — A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) — Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Driverless cars could soon become a staple on U.K. city streets, as they're set to be introduced to a few cities in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins