How can the ATM planning process be better optimized?
The Robust ATM project addresses the challenge to incorporate uncertainty into the initial computation of the plans so that these plans are robust with respect to changes in the data leading to a better utilization of resources, more stable plans and a more efficient support for ATM controllers and stakeholders. To incorporate uncertainty into the ATM planning procedures further makes the total ATM System more resilient because the propagation of disturbances through the system is reduced.
State of the art in the SESAR developments concerning disturbances in scheduling problems, e.g. in the Arrival Management, is the periodic re-planning of the schedule. Concerning the mathematics state-of-the-art in addressing uncertainties in planning is that two different approaches currently exist to handle uncertainty in optimization: stochastic optimization to get good average solutions and robust optimization to protect against worst-case scenarios. Both approaches, which have hardly been considered in the context of ATM, yet, are used here and compared with respect to their costs and benefits.
The Robust ATM project will go a step further: it will combine these two approaches. The analysis of the different uncertainties will provide evidence for the applicability of the different methods or the need of mixed ones, which will be developed in this project. Furthermore, new methods will be proposed to incorporate the serial structure of the planning problem at hand to ensure short runtimes which are imperative for an operative environment.
The cost and benefits of the state of the art optimisation approaches incorporates uncertainty. Therefore, it will be interesting to determine whether the approach has potential application for ATM.