Cooperative air traffic optimisation for minimum overall fuel usage

Simon, P 2013, Cooperative air traffic optimisation for minimum overall fuel usage, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Cooperative air traffic optimisation for minimum overall fuel usage
Author(s) Simon, P
Year 2013
Abstract The objective of this research was to demonstrate that a continental-scale air traffic model, featuring cooperative user preferred trajectories (UPT), can be optimized to minimize total fuel usage. The model was based on the premise that the flight plans, i.e. routes with departure and arrival times, for all aircraft within a continental-scale region were known and their altitude and speed profiles were determined for minimum overall fuel burn, subject to conflict resolution; the resulting set of trajectories would require actions for all involved aircraft and thus be cooperative in nature. The model was also based on the premise that these flight plans would also contain information on the aircraft’s, and its corresponding airline’s, trajectory preferences in the form of UPT; preferences that did not prevent minimization of total fuel usage, or cooperative action towards it, were incorporated into the model. The research integrated air traffic and aircraft performance models around an Interior Point Optimisation technique. Each aircraft’s speed and altitude along the aircraft’s route, was treated as a free variable within aircraft performance limits; the optimisation methodology determined the speed and altitude schedule for each aircraft to ensure total fuel usage was minimum. Constraints on minimum separation, aircraft performance limits and arrival time, were also included; unexpected heading changes and deviation due to adverse weather conditions were included in the optimisation. Further, the integration utilized a means of data transfer which was also found to efficiently define separation required by air traffic; this led to the development of a more efficient form of air traffic optimization. In order to take advantage of this new form, several novel concepts were tested and used, such as fuel usage optimization via Interior Point based algorithms, hyper ellipse based definitions of air traffic separation, and flexible trajectory control node distribution to suit different purposes. Afterwards, the optimization was improved further by including three more functionalities; Base of Aircraft Data (BADA) for aircraft performance modelling, Dynamic Re-optimization to handle unpredicted air traffic changes, and Control Node Customization of trajectory profiles to cater for UPT. The final result of this research was an air traffic optimizer with several notable attributes. First is that it optimizes individual aircraft trajectories to minimize fuel usage; no fuel usage inefficiencies due to aircraft clustering. Second is that it optimizes air traffic covering a continental sized area in a time frame that makes it feasible for actual use. Lastly is that it facilitates incorporation of all forms of Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), Airline, and Aircraft information into the optimization process; i.e. the process is holistic and accommodate a variety of air traffic stakeholder interests. ANSP data is incorporated as a model of ground and airspace specific properties and restrictions, airline and aircrew data are incorporated as properties of customizable UPT, and individual aircraft information are incorporated as the mechanics and constraints of air traffic and its fuel usage.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Keyword(s) Air Traffic Flow Management
Fuel Consumption
Conflict Detection & Resolution
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Created: Fri, 04 Apr 2014, 12:54:29 EST by Lynne Johns
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