Algorithm to revolutionise the routing of aircraft on the ramp?

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The development of a revolutionary aircraft routing and scheduling system is to get underway this month, funded by a £1m research grant.

The three year project, Towards a Robust Airport Decision Support System for Intelligent Taxiing, or TRANSIT, aims to combat inefficient taxiing operations on airport ramps, which are limiting airport capacities and waste large amounts of fuel unnecessarily. The calculation of more efficient taxiing routes could therefore not only increase airport capacity, but also minimise operational costs and levels of emissions. Consequently, the environment would also stand to gain.

To achieve these optimal routes, TRANSIT aims to generate an algorithm capable of quickly computing the best route for each aircraft on the ground, using data from airports worldwide. Once it has been built, the algorithm will then be tested by professional pilots using a simulator at Cranfield University.

The project is being led by the University of Lincoln, in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Cranfield University and the University of Stirling, along with industry partners such as Rolls Royce, Air France KLM, BAE Systems, Manchester airport and Zurich airport.

Speaking to a spokesperson for Lincoln University, it seems the research there will focus on, “the generation of optimal speed instructions for different aircraft, the development of a decision making framework, real-time software implementation, experimental design and piloted trials.”

With the promise of reduced delays, congestion, fuel costs and noise levels, the project has the potential to resolve many of the most prominent concerns surrounding ramp activity for airports, airlines, passengers and nearby residents alike.

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