Avoiding collisions in complex air space
CSIRO has over 15 years of experience developing new approaches to long-standing problems in collision avoidance in airspace.
29 September 2010 | Updated 14 October 2011
In the past, 95 per cent of aircraft in Australian air space were aware of each other, but today that figure is much smaller.
About 3000 commercial aircraft operate with good communications, while many of the 9500 general aircraft flying in Australian skies may be without pilot-to-pilot communications while travelling in regional areas outside of air space managed by air traffic control.
While it is ideal for pilots to communicate with each other to exchange position information, a combination of systems is optimal.
Ground-based air traffic control systems are crucial to provide pilots with strategic guidance, while, at the same time, the historic 'see and avoid' technique is still vital.
As more and more flight-paths interact, the work-load and task-loads of pilots and air traffic controllers required to manage situations such as close proximities can become too great to handle.
This means that air traffic management systems must be carefully designed so that communication channels are not saturated and so that pilot and controller work-loads are contained within feasible human limits.
CSIRO has capabilities in understanding and assessing the risks associated with air spaces, by analysing the hazards, and the level of exposure specific to certain airspaces due to the traffic flow.
CSIRO's mathematical modelling techniques can improve aircraft navigation guidance systems.
Understanding both the communication systems and the kinematics (the position, speed and acceleration aspects of the aircraft) are essential for modelling complex air space.
They are also central to CSIRO's proximity management algorithms and models both for in-air and on-ground operations.
Our work has provided important tools that can be applied at any airport to model complex systems and to simulate them mathematically, instead of trialling them in the real world.
Our mathematical models for navigation and guidance systems have set new benchmarks on performance that have been recognised both in Australia and internationally.
CSIRO developed mathematical models to support the introduction of Automated Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) technology into commercial aviation in Australia when it was first trialled in 1995.
Data-link (ADS-B) is one such technology that speeds communication by transmitting position information digitally and synthesising it in the cockpit
Our work not only has engineering significance in day-to-day operations but also has had an impact at the parliamentary level and through national regulations governing aircraft operations at critical locations.
- the Australian risk benchmark for the commercial space launch industry
- mid-air collision risk within civil airspace design
- guidance on the assessment of risk of operating uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) over populated areas.
Find out more about CSIRO's work in Optimising air space for safer skies.