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PJ.10 W2 Separation Management and Controller Tools - SESAR-IR-VLD-WAVE2-10-2019
Deadline: 16 Apr 2019   - 24 days

EU logo mono EC - Horizon 2020

 Aerospace Technology
 Aeronautics Industries

Specific Challenge:

Current operations within continental En-route and TMA airspace are based on sectorisation structures that intend to handle the traffic demand according to the capacity of the controllers to handle it. It results in the tactical use of multiple radar vectors and stepped climbs and descents to maintain separation between aircraft in high traffic situations. This leads to less efficient flight profiles and high levels of workload for both ATC and the flight crews. It makes it also very difficult to balance the operators’ requirements in terms of flight efficiency (notably user-preferred trajectories) with the need for overall capacity, safety of the operations and ATC workload. Occasionally, where no further splitting of sectors is possible due to limited controller resources, the sector demand exceeds the available controller capacity resulting in flow restrictions, level-capping and other measures that ensure safety at the expense of flight efficiency and timeliness. Future En-Route and TMA environment is anticipated to be even more loaded and complex than today’s.

New system functionalities and further steps of automation provide the chance to achieve significant operational benefits. New ATC tools and the development of new concepts will allow for sectorless environment (where appropriate) to suit various airspace structures like free route, various traffic levels and complexities. Controller productivity needs to be addressed with new team organisations to cope with the collaborative planning and control based on the unplanned boundaries concept.

In today’s situation Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) usually host a monolithic ATM system in each Air Traffic System Unit (ATSU) with very few information services and infrastructure elements being shared between the different centres. In the virtual centre approach, the controller working positions are decoupled and may even be geographically separated from the ATM information services that they consume, and these ATM information services may be shared between different ATSUs or even between ANSPs. The main benefits expected from the virtual centre approach are cost reduction and more flexibility to support load-balancing between the participating ATSUs, delegation of airspace or manage contingency situations. The development of technical services and common interfaces resulting from new technologies, working methods, service oriented architectures (SOA) and procedures would also need to address human factors considerations.

There is a need to increase the efficiency of using the CWP HMIs for the En-Route and APP ATC centre by exploiting the latest mature technologies and new interaction modes e.g. touch, gesture, voice, etc.


The project ‘Separation Management and Controller Tools’ covers the following candidate SESAR Solutions:

  • Solution PJ.10-W2-73 Flight-centric ATC and Improved Distribution of Separation Responsibility in ATC.

The solution covers a concept that consists of assigning aircraft to ATCOs without references to geographical sectors, and have the aircraft controlled by that same ATCO across two or more geographical sectors. The solution requires flight-centric specific allocation, visualisation (traffic filtering), coordination tools (e.g. in the event of a conflict, establish which controller is responsible for its resolution) and, for high traffic densities advanced CD&R tools (that are not flight-centric specific). The solution also covers the concept of collaborative control with planned boundaries in which sectors are retained as they are today, with aircraft being assigned to a sector according to its geographic location. The boundaries between sectors have planned coordination conditions like in current operations, but with some additional flexibility by allowing controllers to issue clearances without prior coordination to aircraft in a different sector.

  • Solution PJ.10-W2-93 Delegation of airspace amongst ATSUs.

The objective of this solution is to explore the different possible delegation of airspace amongst ATSUs based on traffic / organisation needs (either static on fix-time transfer schedule (Day/Night) or dynamic e.g. when the traffic density is below/over certain level) or on contingency needs. The solution covers an operational thread, which aims at defining and validating the different types of delegation of airspace and a technical thread, which aims at specifying the impacts of the operational thread on the services defined in the Virtual centre concept.

  • Solution PJ.10-W2-96 HMI Interaction modes for ATC centre.

The solution addresses the development of new human machine interface (HMI) interaction modes and technologies in order to minimise the load and mental strain on controllers in the ATC centre. The SESAR solution shall consider modern design and development approaches and methodologies such as modularity, SoA, adaptive automation, etc. The new HMI interaction modes include the use of in-air gestures, attention control, user profile management systems, tracking labels, virtual and augmented reality, etc.

  • Solution PJ.10-W2-70 Collaborative control and Multi sector planner (MSP) in en-route.

The solution addresses the collaborative control with unplanned boundaries concept, in which the traditional requirement to coordinate traffic at all sector boundaries is waived for an area covering two or more sectors. In case it is not completed in wave 1, the solution scope covers as well the development, for the en-route environment, of the concept of operation and the required system support e.g. coordination tools for operating in a team structure where a Planner has responsibility for the airspace under the executive control of two or more independent Executive Controllers (multi-sector planner or MSP). The MSP is able to adjust the internal (executive) sector boundaries so that workload is balanced between the Executive controllers.

Expected Impact:

This project will develop solutions that are expected to have a positive impact on the Network improving:

  • Safety by being flight centric focused in particular in Free route environment and a reduction of the potential conflict that are laterally far better distributed over the airspace;
  • Capacity thanks to the reduction of the partitioning of the airspace (sectors), the airspace capacity is not longer restricted by sector capacity and thanks to the reduction of the controller workload (reduction of sectors handovers) that would lead to increase the amount of flights per ATCO
  • Efficiency with a reduction of coordination and handover the pilot has to comply with and the set up
  • Flexibility thanks to the load-balancing or the management of the contingency situations between ACCs and controllers when applying virtual centre concept ;
  • Cost-efficiency thanks to the interoperability between system and the decoupling of the ATM data provision from the ATC service provision enabling data to be shared between different ATSUs.

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