ATM industry to improve safety by leveraging technology

CANSO (the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation) has called on the Air Traffic Management (ATM) industry to improve safety by leveraging new technology and enhancing human performance.

Speaking at this year’s Global ATM Safety Conference in Banff, Canada , Simon Hocquard, deputy director general, CANSO, highlighted that “managing airspace safely is an increasingly complex task.”

Referencing the growth of air traffic and onset of new airspace users, including unmanned aerial systems, high altitude and space vehicles as well as supersonic jets, he added: “As the ATM industry rises to meet these challenges, ensuring the highest standards of safety continues to be our number one priority.”

CANSO is developing a Standard of Excellence in Human Performance Management (which it hopes to launch in 2019) to ensure that new technologies, such as automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and space-based surveillance are embraced in a way that will help enhance safety and efficiency in airspace.

Acknowledging that these new technologies can provide a clearer picture of ATM operations and allow the industry to collate the safety data it needs to safely and efficiently manage global air traffic, Hocquard added: “Effectively monitoring and measuring safety not only proves that yesterday was safe, or that today is safe, but that tomorrow will be even safer.”

However, he also warned that these new technologies “bring challenges.” These include the importance of effective cyber-security as a key feature of maintaining safe operations. When it comes to protecting data and exchanging information regarding threats, vulnerabilities and solutions he stressed that “it is vital that the aviation industry works even more closely together to safeguard operations in the digital sphere.”

Underpinning how the role of humans is becoming even more important in this new digital age, Hocquard emphasised that this transformation requires people to adapt to new technologies and ways of working.

“As we adopt new technologies and an increasingly automated system, we are building a clear vision for the human, and ensure safe and seamless transition through effective human performance management,” he said.

“Ultimately, I am confident that if we leverage new technology and enhance human performance alongside each other, we can improve safety and help manage rising demand and changing airspace and operations,” he added.

“We also need to further strengthen our voice to influence and ensure a safe operational environment for the aviation community, and help implement safety improvements through a targeted regional focus around the world,” Hocquard concluded.

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