Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 5-30

First online:

Formal testing for separation assurance

  • Dimitra GiannakopoulouAffiliated withNASA Ames, Carnegie Mellon University
  • , David H. BushnellAffiliated withNASA Ames, TRACLabs
  • , Johann SchumannAffiliated withNASA Ames, SGT, Inc. Email author 
  • , Heinz ErzbergerAffiliated withNASA Ames, UC Santa Cruz
  • , Karen HeereAffiliated withUniversity Affiliated Research Center

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In order to address the rapidly increasing load of air traffic operations, innovative algorithms and software systems must be developed for the next generation air traffic control. Extensive verification of such novel algorithms is key for their adoption by industry. Separation assurance algorithms aim at predicting if two aircraft will get closer to each other than a minimum safe distance; if loss of separation is predicted, they also propose a change of course for the aircraft to resolve this potential conflict. In this paper, we report on our work towards developing an advanced testing framework for separation assurance. Our framework supports automated test case generation and testing, and defines test oracles that capture algorithm requirements. We discuss three different approaches to test-case generation, their application to a separation assurance prototype, and their respective strengths and weaknesses. We also present an approach for statistical analysis of the large numbers of test results obtained from our framework.


Software testing Verification Model checking Automatic test generation Clustering Separation assurance Air-traffic control

Mathematics Subject Classification (2010)