Optimizing the day-of-operations UAM network planning/dispatching and responding efficiently to network disruptions are crucial, make-or-break capabilities without which UAM operator business will not be viable. Today’s methods used by airlines and car ridesharing companies will not work for UAM because UAM operations have significant differences and unique features (minimizing deadhead flights, staging aircraft offsite due to Vertiport space constraints, unique disruption events, etc.). The proposed SBIR develops the Resilient UAM Network Optimizer (RUNO), which the UAM day-of-operations planning problem as an Integer Program (IP), applies innovative constraint and objective function models to emulate unique characteristics of UAM operations, and uses a NASA-developed, open-source fast IP solver to provide optimized solutions in realistic times matching the UAM operator’s planning cycles. Since the SBIR addresses an airspace network planning for nontraditional UAM operations, it is highly relevant to Subtopic A3.04’s “Nontraditional Airspace Operations”.
Phase I breaks the day-of-operations planning/dispatch problem into three inter-related sub-problems: Strategic Scheduling (weekly or monthly calculation of long-term schedules), Tactical Planning (real-time planning in response to incoming trip requests), and Disruption Management (event-driven network recovery planning). For each problem, we develop innovative customizations of the proposed IP and solve them to provide a comprehensive network planning and disruption management solution.
Phase II operationalizes RUNO by integrating it with cloud-computing platforms such as NASA Digital Information Platform and ATAC SkyView Data Services. UAM operators can access RUNO as a digital service over NASA or ATAC cloud platforms to obtain benefits including increased profitability, enhanced On-Time performance, reduced operating costs, and efficient responses to network disruptions.