Air-Ground Integration

Air Ground Integration comprises the operational and technical know-how about concepts, procedures and tools related to the integration of airborne and ground ATM systems.

Challenges

Strategic Studies of the future Air Transport System – as the European “Vision 2020” – clearly have indicated that there is a need to further integrate airborne and ground functions in order to cope with the increasing requirements regarding safety and capacity. The current air traffic operations are based on the principle that more or less the same level of service is provided to any aircraft regardless of its capabilities and equipment. Development and integration of new systems and functions into the aircraft will therefore not directly result into a more efficient Air Transport System. In order to provide a response to the present airport capacity and future environmental constraints, additional procedures and operational concepts as well as technology and systems need to be developed and implemented.  This must be done wherever required. Major benefits can be expected especially in areas with high density of traffic like the TMA. Based on the exchange of information between aircraft and ATC via data link, trajectory based traffic management can take into account user preferred trajectories. It can also be used for more accurate predication of aircraft movements.

Activities

The activities in this field are the R&D into new concepts and procedures to benefit from new enabling technologies that further integrate ground and airborne functions. Also new airborne functions and decision support tools for air ground co-operative ATM are being developed. This area of expertise contributes to the development and implementation towards a time based (trajectory based) ATM with shared responsibilities between air and ground for separation and 4D guidance. This will include Higher Automation (HA) and new Communication, Navigation, Surveillance (CNS) functions.

4D trajectories that describe precisely aircraft’s position over time allow a strategic planning of each phase of flight. Potential conflicts can be detected well in advanced and consequently be avoided in an efficient manner. Data link communication with ATC as well as with other aircraft will provide the pilots with a comprehensive awareness of the traffic situation. This will enable them to perform delegated spacing and separation tasks and to ensure better adherence to ATC separation minima in en-route, terminal, and approach airspace.

Examples

  • New airborne functions
    • Airborne Separation Assistance Systems (ASAS) functions
    • Advanced FMS and HMI (e.g. RTA, interactive navigation display, head-up and head-worn displays)
    • Automation concepts (auto-flight, auto-land, auto-taxi, auto-takeoff)
  • New ground functions
    • GBAS
    • CPDLC and related Data-Link application
  • New procedures