At the end of 2015, the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) launched the challenge "Sky for All: Air Mobility for 2035 and Beyond". The objective was to envision the skies of 2035 and design a system that allows vehicles to navigate safely and efficiently in a dense and diverse airspace.
323 challengers from 39 different countries submitted proposals featuring innovative Air Traffic Management (ATM) concepts and technologies, in order to facilitate a transition to an airspace with dense, diverse and autonomous traffic.
This challenge was organized through HeroX, a digital platform made to enable anyone, anywhere in the world, to create a challenge that addresses any problem or opportunity, build a community around that challenge and activate the circumstances that can lead to a breakthrough innovation. (see https://herox.com/about).
The submission of three ONERA scientists (Thomas Dubot, Antoine Joulia & Judicaël Bedouet), "Managing the 2035 air traffic through clustered self-separation out of 4D protection bubbles", was awarded with the second place winner of the Sky for All challenge, which increases ONERA's visibility in terms of ATM prospective.
Their solution was based on self-separation capabilities of aircraft auto-organizing themselves within clusters. Beyond position and speed information (transmitted by ADS-B* for example), aircraft manage collectively unexpected situations through the knowledge of others' intents.
This decentralized management relies on the preliminary generation of 4D protection bubbles** around aircraft, ensuring their separation a priori, as a previous optimization in time and space guarantees that two bubbles never intersect each other.
* ADS-B: Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast - surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked.
** 4D bubble: moving 3D bubble around aircraft following its moving, and potentially deformed according to surrounding traffic or meteorological data. See for instance 4DCo-GC project, image 3.
www.onera.fr/fr/staff/thomas-dubot , Antoine.Joulia \@/ onera.fr, Judicael.Bedouet \@/ onera.fr