The architecture of the overall ATM system is vast and complex; it has evolved piecemeal over many decades with no single ‘design authority’. Introducing change into this system is often difficult since it needs to take into account the many tight interdependencies that exist across the technical subsystems together with incumbent operational and institutional frameworks. A consequence of this situation is the difficulty to know the full implications of introducing change in any part of the system or on the system as a whole. Failure to properly understand this could mean that changes are introduced that result in uncontrolled system-wide degradation. This could be a particular concern with the increasing dependence on automation.
The challenge is therefore to better understand and model how architectural and design choices influence the ATM system and its various behaviours. This may be done using existing or novel approaches from systems analysis, architecture or complexity science.
With reference to the SJU Annual Work Programme 2016, this topic covers Section 3.5.4, sub Work area 1.2 topic e).
Proposals for research activities on ATM system design and architecture may start by capturing the characteristics of today’s system, using an existing or novel method, to then analyse and propose evolutionary approaches aimed at guaranteeing its robust transition towards the future.
Proposals may also take a ‘clean sheet’ approach, exploiting the benefits of an unconstrained perspective. In either case it may be possible to learn lessons from other industries that have used new devices such as, for example, participatory design.
Research projects may propose innovative ideas for ATM system design incorporating flexibility, agility and resilience applying formal mathematical approaches at early phases of system design, or for modelling change. Furthermore, research projects may seek to provide a better understanding of the degree of coupling (loose/tight) among the different ATM subsystems, the nature of these interdependencies and their impact on the overall ATM system. New approaches should normally build on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) principles, with multiple service levels and tailored service provision. Agility should allow the ATM system to scale and adapt to meet different requirements for different times and places. Projects may also investigate the potential use of open-source and commercial off the shelf solutions. Finally, new designs should take into account security threats.
Harmonized infrastructure is a prerequisite for developments such as virtual centers and for the possible opening of the ANS market. Research projects may assess the potential benefits, analyse how the harmonization could be introduced through regulation, incentives and EC grants. It should address transition and standardization aspects as well as the restructuring of ANS and associated cost.
Projects should be careful not to spend time re-doing previous work on architecture that has been done in SESAR or elsewhere.
This research will support the ATM industry in better understanding the needs and challenges of developing a harmonised technical infrastructure for ANS, including its operational and economic impacts. Projects may demonstrate through examples and case-based arguments the potential of architecture in providing suitable means of assurance for validation or evidence to support decision-making and strategic thinking. Or the research projects may seek to provide a better understanding of the degree of coupling (loose/tight) among the different ATM subsystems, the nature of these interdependencies and their impact on the overall ATM system.