NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 A3.01-9608
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Next Generation Air-Traffic Management
PROPOSAL TITLE: Airport Surface Automation in the Absence of Surface Surveillance

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Metron Aviation, Inc.
131 Elden Street, Suite 200
Herndon, VA 20170-4758

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Laurel Stell
131 Elden Street, Suite 200
Herndon, VA 20170-4758

There is a very large variation in the difference between scheduled and actual flight arrival and departure times, which results in a high degree of uncertainty in the airport demand. Consequently, there is a great need for tools that provide awareness of both the current and predicted future situation. The Surface Management System (SMS) developed by NASA Ames has partially addressed this need; but both its display and its modeling currently assume that the locations of aircraft on the airport surface will be provided by surface surveillance. In this SBIR, Metron Aviation will study the prediction of airport demand with varying levels of surface surveillance. The Phase 1 objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of predicting, with limited or no surface surveillance, flight OOOI times accurately enough to enable airport surface automation. In Phase 2, we will investigate decision support display designs appropriate for the lack of surveillance and evaluate them at Atlanta.

NASA could use the product of Phase 2 to adapt the Surface Management System (SMS) to airports that do not have surface surveillance. SMS currently requires accurate positions, matched to flight numbers, for aircraft near or on the airport surface. Without complete surface surveillance, SMS requires changes to both its model and displays, and this effort will provide solutions for this need. Furthermore, some developments from the proposed work may also increase the benefit of SMS even when there is surface surveillance data or when surface surveillance coverage is sporadic or missing in only part of the airport.

The FAA is investigating the deployment of a system with surface management functionality at the 30 top airports. Since not all these airports are on the ASDE-X waterfall, this system will require the model enhancements from this SBIR. Output from this system is expected to be available to airlines, so they would be interested in the decision support tools developed under this funding. ETMS could also use the output to replace its predicted takeoff times. For airports without this system, ETMS might incorporate the taxi time prediction algorithms to replace its estimates based on recent historical data.