NATS is the UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services. Each year, it handles 2.4 million flights and 250 million passengers in UK airspace. In addition to providing services to 13 UK airports and managing all upper airspace in the UK, NATS provides services around the world spanning Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North America.
New technologies have the potential to revolutionize the aviation industry. Airports in particular are perfect candidates for AI and machine learning concepts. Carolina Sanchez Hernandez discusses how National Aviation Technical Services (NATS) is collaborating with several companies and institutes to change the way that data is captured and processed to transform airport operations—optimizing movements and performance air-side, detecting any anomaly in the operations (i.e., delays on turnaround and knock-on effects), informing on operations in real time, measuring and comparing subcontractor performance, predicting delays based on the whole air-side operation (i.e., deicing sequences), and connecting the airport operations and the tower (i.e., readiness of an aircraft to take off or manage disruption).
NATS is currently collaborating and partnering with Searidge Technologies to develop solutions for tower control and airport operations. Carolina offers an overview of Aimee, an AI system developed by Searidge Technologies that processes video from a series of video sensors networked together to provide real-time geospatial positioning of all targets in a given area. The video captured by the cameras is then processed using advanced computer vision algorithms in order to provide noncooperative target detection, continuous tracking, geospatial positioning, and a variety of target attributes. It also targets natural language processing (controller-pilot communication), flight data/surveillance processing and analysis, and weather processing. Aimee allows ATC and airport stakeholders to leverage deep learning in each of these functional areas to build robust and safe AI-powered applications.
Carolina Sanchez Hernandez is a senior research analyst on the research and innovation team within Customer Solutions at NATS in the UK. Carolina has worked within research and innovation for the past 15 years in both private and public industry. Her background is in geography, environmental science, remote sensing, and machine learning.
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