Artificial Intelligence Will Solve ATM Capacity Problems, Global Debate at the First Virtual UBM ATC Global Event

Human beings will soon be unable to cope with developing complex air traffic situations, according to Thorgier Palsson, Professor of Air Navigation Technology at Reykjavik University.
Professor Palsson spoke at a virtual interactive ATM event presented by UBM s ATC Global on May 11 2011. This is the first of three virtual events organised for the global ATM industry this year, which are presented in the Virtual Centre from UBM Studios. 
We are simply approaching the point where the human being will not be able to cope, that is, to make decisions fast enough to deal with the complex traffic situations of the future, said Professor Palsson. There are strong indications that artificial intelligence has now reached a level of maturity that will allow machines to start taking some of the decision load that up to now has rested with the controller.
Professor Palsson was one of several industry leaders to take part in the ground-breaking event, which featured debates, video presentations and an exhibition, delivered free of charge to the global ATM community. The launch event was attended by 467 industry professionals, from 72 countries worldwide and enabled participants to interact with an audience in a way which has not been possible before, in a vibrant online networking and business environment.
Designed to complement physical ATM events and meetings, the virtual event series provides a regular accessible meeting point for all worldwide industry stakeholders and access to the latest ATM information and viewpoints from industry leaders from all sectors of the industry and based in many different continents, said Paula Milburn, Event Director, ATC Global, UBM. 
The live debates featured presentations and video interviews from worldwide industry leaders including CANSO, IATA, ICAO, Helios, FAA, ATNS South Africa, Metron Aviation, EUROCONTROL, Telvent, SITA, ANS Czech Republic and IFATCA.
CANSO Director General Graham Lake outlined a blueprint for a 'Higher Order System' (HOS) which would manage all the future ATM information networks. A possible blueprint for this was the management system set up to implement FANS 1 ADS CPDLC in the South Pacific, which saw states and stakeholders in the region such as airlines, ANSPs, avionic vendors and aircraft manufacturers, form an informal co-ordination group, ISTAG Independent South Pacific ATS Co-ordination Group.
Other issues discussed at the event included controller shortages. These vary from a five per cent minimum to 20 to 30 per cent, according to Philippe Domogala, Vice President of IFATCA, with the shortage exacerbated by the introduction of new technology which takes controllers away from the workplace for training and systems integration work.  A generational shift in career planning sees younger controllers now leaving the industry after ten years or so, said Philippe Domogala.
In addition, the global ATM community met in the virtual conference Auditorium to discuss capacity challenges, workplace issues, the potential benefits of air traffic follow management systems and new meteorological technologies at the webinar sessions taking place throughout the day. Unlike physical events, participants at the free virtual event could see who was online in the environment, view personal profiles and engage in public and private chats with industry peers and stakeholders as well as take part in live interactive debates and source industry information in the resource centre and exhibition hall. Two out of three attendees at the ATC Global virtual conference on congestion, which was the focus of the first of four webcasts at the virtual event, believe that capacity targets for the Single European Sky programme will be unobtainable.
Exhibitors in the Expo Hall included leading ATM suppliers Adacel, LAIC, Metron Aviation, Telvent and Thales.
 When we first found out about the ATC Global virtual event we were intrigued to see what it had to offer us as an organisation said Richard Paszkowski, Sales & Marketing Manager, LAIC Aktiengesellschaft.  We recognized that having a virtual and online platform to exhibit to a global audience would deliver us real benefits and at a much lower cost than conventional means. We are confident the ATC Global virtual event will become a regular and valuable part of our annual marketing strategy.

The complete on demand event can be viewed here.
Two additional ATC Global virtual events will take place on July 13 and October 19, 2011.  Free registration is available at
ATC Global


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