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TCAS II and ACAS Xa traffic and resolution advisories during interval management paired approach operations

Published in:
2020 AIAA/IEEE 39th Digital Avionics Systems Conf., DASC, 11-15 October 2020.

Summary

Interval Management (IM) is an FAA Next-Gen Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) In application designed to decrease the variability in spacing between aircraft, thereby increasing the efficiency of the National Airspace System (NAS). One application within IM is Paired Approach (PA). In a PA operation, the lead aircraft and trail aircraft are both established on final approach to dependent parallel runways with runway centerline spacing less than 2500 feet. The trail aircraft follows speed guidance from the IM Avionics to achieve and maintain a desired spacing behind the lead aircraft. PA operations are expected to require a new separation standard that allows the aircraft to be spaced more closely than current dependent parallel separation standards. The behavior of an airborne collision avoidance system, such as TCAS II or ACAS Xa, must be considered during a new operation such as PA, because the aircraft are so closely spaced. This analysis quantified TAs and RAs using TCAS II Change 7.1 and ACAS Xa software with simulated IM PA operations. The results show no RAs using either TCAS II Change 7.1 or ACAS Xa, negligible TAs using TCAS II Change 7.1, and acceptable numbers of TAs using ACAS Xa software during simulated PA operations.
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Summary

Interval Management (IM) is an FAA Next-Gen Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) In application designed to decrease the variability in spacing between aircraft, thereby increasing the efficiency of the National Airspace System (NAS). One application within IM is Paired Approach (PA). In a PA operation, the lead aircraft and...

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Enhanced parallel simulation for ACAS X development

Published in:
2020 IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing Conf., HPEC, 22-24 September 2020.

Summary

ACAS X is the next generation airborne collision avoidance system intended to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving U.S. National Airspace System (NAS). The collision avoidance safety and operational suitability of the system are optimized and continuously evaluated by simulating billions of characteristic aircraft encounters in a fast-time Monte Carlo environment. There is therefore an inherent computational cost associated with each ACAS X design iteration and parallelization of the simulations is necessary to keep up with rapid design cycles. This work describes an effort to profile and enhance the parallel computing infrastructure deployed on the computing resources offered by the Lincoln Laboratory Supercomputing Center. The approach to large-scale parallelization of our fast-time airspace encounter simulation tool is presented along with corresponding parallel profile data collected on different kinds of compute nodes. A simple stochastic model for distributed simulation is also presented to inform optimal work batching for improved simulation efficiency. The paper concludes with a discussion on how this high-performance parallel simulation method enables the rapid safety-critical design of ACAS X in a fast-paced iterative design process.
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Summary

ACAS X is the next generation airborne collision avoidance system intended to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving U.S. National Airspace System (NAS). The collision avoidance safety and operational suitability of the system are optimized and continuously evaluated by simulating billions of characteristic aircraft encounters in a fast-time Monte...

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Unmanned aircraft sense and avoid radar: surrogate flight testing performance evaluation

Summary

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have proven to have distinct advantages compared to manned aircraft for a variety of tasks. Current airspace regulations require a capability to sense and avoid other aircraft to replace the ability of a pilot to see and avoid other traffic. A prototype phased-array radar was developed and tested to demonstrate a capability to support the sense and avoid (SAA) requirement and to validate radar performance models. Validated radar models enable evaluation of other radar systems in simulation. This paper provides an overview of the unique radar technology, and focuses on radar performance and model validation as demonstrated through a flight testing campaign. Performance results demonstrate that the prototype SAA radar system can provide sufficient accuracy to sense avoid non-cooperative aircraft.
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Summary

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have proven to have distinct advantages compared to manned aircraft for a variety of tasks. Current airspace regulations require a capability to sense and avoid other aircraft to replace the ability of a pilot to see and avoid other traffic. A prototype phased-array radar was developed...

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Due regard encounter model version 1.0

Published in:
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Report ATC-397

Summary

Airspace encounter models describe encounter situations that may occur between aircraft in the airspace and are a critical component of safety assessment of sense and avoid (SAA) systems for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs). Some UAS will fly in international airspace under due regard and may encounter other aircraft during these operations. In these types of encounters, the intruder aircraft is likely receiving air traffic control (ATC) services, but the UAS is not. Thus, there is a need for a due regard encounter model that can be used to generate these types of encounters. This report describes the development of a due regard encounter model. In order to build the model, Lincoln Laboratory collected data for aircraft flying in international airspace using the Enhanced Traffic Management System (ETMS) data feed that was provided by the Volpe Center. Lincoln processed these data, and extracted important features to construct the model. The model is based on Bayesian networks that represent the probabilistic relationship between variables that describe how aircraft behave. The model is used to construct random aircraft trajectories that are statistically similar to those observed in the airspace. A large collection of encounters generated from an airspace encounter model can be used to evaluate the performance of a SAA system against encounter situations representative of those expected to actually occur in the airspace. Lincoln Laboratory has previously developed several other encounter models. There is an uncorrelated encounter model that is used to generate encounters with an intruder that does not have a transponder, or between two aircraft using a Mode A code of 1200 (VFR). There is also a correlated encounter model that is used when both aircraft have a transponder and at least one aircraft is in contact with ATC. Both of these models were built from radar data collected from the National Airspace System (NAS). There is also an unconventional encounter model that is used to generate encounters with unconventional intruders such as gliders, balloons, and airships--these vehicles have different flight characteristics than conventional aircraft. The framework used to construct the due regard encounter model described in this paper is similar to the prior models. The primary difference is that a different data feed is used and the model covers encounters in international flight where the aircraft of interest is flying due regard, which were not within the scope of prior models. Separate electronic files are available from Lincoln Laboratory that contain the statistical data required to generate encounter trajectories.
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Summary

Airspace encounter models describe encounter situations that may occur between aircraft in the airspace and are a critical component of safety assessment of sense and avoid (SAA) systems for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs). Some UAS will fly in international airspace under due regard and may encounter other aircraft during these...

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Optimized airborne collision avoidance in mixed equipage environments

Published in:
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Report ATC-408

Summary

Developing robust collision avoidance logic that reliably prevents collision without excessive alerting is challenging due to sensor error and uncertainty in the future paths of the aircraft. Over the past few years, research has focused on the use of a computational method known as dynamic programming for producing an optimized decision logic for airborne collision avoidance. This report focuses on recent research on coordination, interoperability, and multiple-threat encounters. The methodology presented in this report results in logic that is safer and performs better than legacy TCAS. Modeling and simulation indicate that the proposed methodology can bring significant benefit to the current airspace and can support the need for safe, non-disruptive collision protection as the airspace continues to evolve.
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Summary

Developing robust collision avoidance logic that reliably prevents collision without excessive alerting is challenging due to sensor error and uncertainty in the future paths of the aircraft. Over the past few years, research has focused on the use of a computational method known as dynamic programming for producing an optimized...

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Measurements of the 1030 and 1090 MHz environments at JFK International Airport

Summary

Measurements of signals in the 1030 and 1090 MHz frequency bands have been made by MIT Lincoln Laboratory in the last several years, previously in the Boston area and most recently in April 2011, at JFK International Airport near New York City. This JFK measurement activity was performed as a part of the Lincoln Laboratory Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) work for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is the subject of this report. This report includes: 1) Overall characteristics of the 1030/1090 MHz environments, 2) Analysis of the TCAS air-to-air coordination process, 3) Examination of 1090 MHz Extended Squitter transmissions for use in TCAS, 4) Assessment of the extent and impact of TCAS operation on the airport surface.
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Summary

Measurements of signals in the 1030 and 1090 MHz frequency bands have been made by MIT Lincoln Laboratory in the last several years, previously in the Boston area and most recently in April 2011, at JFK International Airport near New York City. This JFK measurement activity was performed as a...

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A safety driven approach to the development of an airborne sense and avoid system

Published in:
AIAA Infotech at Aerospace Conf. and Exhibit, 19-21 June 2012.

Summary

Sense and avoid is the primary technical barrier to increased unmanned aircraft system airspace access. A safety assessment driven approach to sense and avoid system design and requirements validation is being employed to ensure safety and operational suitability. The foundation of this approach is a fast-time modeling and simulation architecture originally used to support the certification of the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System. This paper describes the safety assessment methodology, including the architecture and evaluation metrics, and presents preliminary results for key system architecture and design tradeoffs.
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Summary

Sense and avoid is the primary technical barrier to increased unmanned aircraft system airspace access. A safety assessment driven approach to sense and avoid system design and requirements validation is being employed to ensure safety and operational suitability. The foundation of this approach is a fast-time modeling and simulation architecture...

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Next-generation airborne collision avoidance system

Published in:
Lincoln Laboratory Journal, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2012, pp. 17-33.

Summary

In response to a series of midair collisions involving commercial airliners, Lincoln Laboratory was directed by the Federal Aviation Administration in the 1970s to participate in the development of an onboard collision avoidance system. In its current manifestation, the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System is mandated worldwide on all large aircraft and has significantly improved the safety of air travel, but major changes to the airspace planned over the coming years will require substantial modification to the system. Recently, Lincoln Laboratory has been pioneering the development of a new approach to collision avoidance systems that completely rethinks how such systems are engineered, allowing the system to provide a higher degree of safety without interfering with normal, safe operations.
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Summary

In response to a series of midair collisions involving commercial airliners, Lincoln Laboratory was directed by the Federal Aviation Administration in the 1970s to participate in the development of an onboard collision avoidance system. In its current manifestation, the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System is mandated worldwide on all...

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A new approach for designing safer collision avoidance systems

Published in:
Air Traffic Control Q., Vol. 20, No. 1, January 2012, pp. 27-45.

Summary

The Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System significantly reduces the risk of mid-air collision and is mandated worldwide on transport aircraft. Engineering the avoidance logic was costly and spanned decades. The development followed an iterative process where the logic was specified using pseudocode, evaluated in simulation, and revised based on performance against a set of metrics. Modifying the logic is difficult because the pseudocode contains many heuristic rules that interact in complex ways. With the introduction of next-generation air traffic control procedures and surveillance systems, the logic will require significant revision to prevent unnecessary alerts. Recent work has explored an approach for designing collision avoidance systems that will shorten the development cycle, improve maintainability, and enhance safety with fewer false alerts. The approach involves computationally deriving optimized logic from encounter models and performance metrics. This paper outlines the approach and discusses the anticipated impact on development, safety, and operation.
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Summary

The Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System significantly reduces the risk of mid-air collision and is mandated worldwide on transport aircraft. Engineering the avoidance logic was costly and spanned decades. The development followed an iterative process where the logic was specified using pseudocode, evaluated in simulation, and revised based on...

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Decomposition methods for optimized collision avoidance with multiple threats

Published in:
DASC 2011, 30th IEEE/AIAA Digital Avionics Systems Conference, 16-20 October 2011, pp. 1D2.

Summary

Aircraft collision avoidance systems assist in the resolution of collision threats from nearby aircraft by issuing avoidance maneuvers to pilots. Encounters where multiple aircraft pose a threat, though rare, can be difficult to resolve because a maneuver that might resolve a conflict with one aircraft might induce conflicts with others. Recent efforts to develop robust collision avoidance systems for single-threat encounters have involved modeling the problem as a Markov decision process and applying dynamic programming to solve for the optimal avoidance strategy. Because this methodology does not scale well to multiple threats, this paper evaluates a variety of decomposition methods that leverage the optimal avoidance strategy for single-threat encounters.
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Summary

Aircraft collision avoidance systems assist in the resolution of collision threats from nearby aircraft by issuing avoidance maneuvers to pilots. Encounters where multiple aircraft pose a threat, though rare, can be difficult to resolve because a maneuver that might resolve a conflict with one aircraft might induce conflicts with others...

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