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#CANSOsafety2017: Embracing change - automation in ATM and human interaction

9 November 2017

CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference 2017

Paradise-like circumstances, sunshine and stunning scenery here in South Coogee, Sydney, could not distract the attendees of the CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference 2017 from the thrilling topics on today's agenda: top contributing factors, runway safety, automation and new technologies in ATM.

Building on previous discussions on how to measure, benchmark and improve the safety performance of ANSPs, Heather Henderson from NAV CANADA shared lessons learned from the latest de-identified Safety Benchmarking exercise. Tony Licu from EUROCONTROL presented the results of the Top Contributing Factors Survey in 2017. The following interactive session revealed that there is still a need for a better understanding of performance variabilities and that safety performance management data is most helpful to ANSPs.

Runway Safety continues to be a priority for CANSO. Kim Nichols of Airways New Zealand presented CANSO's Runway Safety Checklist, updated in 2017 to automate and simplify the tool. Mark DeNicuolo of FAA then shared a new Runway Safety metric being considered by ICAO.

Wrapping up the Safety Performance Measurement presentations, Larry Lachance, VP Safety for NAV CANADA used interactive technology to get real time feedback from the delegates on future activities for the SSC work programme.

Inspired by a presentation on automation in ATM and the DFS draft 'White paper on Automation', the much-awaited session on automation in ATM and the human interaction offered examples and information on automation in ATM and the future role of the human. The Conference participants – ATM safety leaders, practitioners and industry representatives – intensively discussed various aspects of automation, solutions and scenarios for a future degree of human interaction with technology in ATM. What are the promises of automation and how could a desired automated target state be defined? The 'House of Automation' revealed that automation does affect the overall organisation, e.g. selection, qualification, training, procedures and roles.

During the safety speed chats, Chris Mett from the Harris Corporation, Trevor Kistan from Thales, Vincent 'Vinnie' Capezzuto from Aireon, and Mark Douglas from Nokia presented pioneering solutions to challenges associated with automation in interaction with humans.

What did we learn today?

The interactive set-up up of the sessions encouraged the conference attendees to share experiences and ideas.

Participants understood that in a world with a continuously growing number of aircraft movements, air traffic control is facing the challenge of increasing its performance and cost efficiency without sacrificing its high level of safety. For this, new technology and further automation are key drivers for future success, even or in particular in complex environments and with a positive effect on all relevant key performance indicators.

The lively discussions, supported by interactive methodology revealed the boundless imagination of the delegates.

Participants felt the need for further elaborating this issue, clearly having in mind that the given level of automation varies very much globally and that every step towards a higher degree of automation needs to be performance-oriented and needs-related. Attendees acknowledged, however, that automation requires a conscious application with care and thoroughness.

The CANSO Safety Standing Committee is looking forward to working on safety considerations of automation in ATM, supporting Members in that area. 'No ANSP left behind!'

To view the full CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference programme click here, and watch for further blog updates.



  • Conferences

About the author

Osman Saafan, Director Corporate Safety, Security and Military Affair, DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH and new Vice Chair, CANSO Safety Standing Committee

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