Date: 21 Jun 2005

Advanced air traffic automation: A case study in distributed decentralized control

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In this survey chapter, we present some of the issues in designing algorithms for the control of distributed, multi-agent systems. The control of such systems is becoming an increasing issue in many areas owing to technological advances which make it possible to take “legacy” systems to new levels of functioning and efficiency. Of specific interest to us in this chapter is advanced air traffic management (ATM) to increase the efficiency and safety of air travel while accommodating the growing demand for air traffic. ATM systems will replace the completely centralized, ground-based air traffic control procedures. Within ATM, the concept of free flight allows each aircraft to plan four dimensional trajectories in real time, thus replacing the rigid and inefficient discrete airspace structure. These changes are feasible due to technological innovations such as advanced flight management systems with GPS. In this chapter, we propose a decentralized ATM architecture, in which some of the current air traffic control functionality is moved on board aircraft. Within this framework, we present the issues in hybrid systems verification and design for safe conflict resolution strategies between aircraft. Both cooperative and noncooperative conflict resolution strategies are presented along with verification methods based on Hamilton-Jacobi theory, automata theory, and the theory of games.