SafeClouds uses big data analytics to drive aviation safety

12 April 2018

On 11 April, EUROCONTROL hosted the mid-term review of SafeClouds - the largest aviation safety big data analytics project under Horizon 2020, the European Commission (EC) research and innovation programme. At the meeting, the pan-European research programme presented its data science approach aimed at improving aviation safety by leveraging data science techniques.

The project is run by the SafeClouds consortium that brings together the airline industry, air navigation service providers, aviation authorities and research institutions. EUROCONTROL is a member of the project and is involved in data provision, definition of research use cases and validation of the tools produced by the project. The wide variety of aviation stakeholders involved ensures that SafeCloud.eu takes into account a wide scope of data sources, fusing data that is today kept in isolated silos.

SafeClouds has developed a state-of-the-art infrastructure to support big data analytics that guarantees data protection using cryptography technologies, balancing the data protection with accessibility to data analytics whilst respecting security of the data and confidentiality.

The research programme specifically addresses operational safety issues such as Airprox, Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT), Unstable Approach and Runway safety by taking the large historical data sets and building a deep understanding of incident contributing factors to see if these factors could be used to automatically predict similar behaviour which can then support controllers, pilots and systems to enhance safety.

SafeClouds is a totally relevant project not only to research the use of data analytics in aviation safety but also to build stakeholder confidence to share large amounts of data for agreed purposes in a confidential and secure manner,” commented Daniele Violato of the European Commission. “We advise that the project takes the initiative to build awareness for future stakeholders, addressing further the scientific and user communities.”

“We are very proud to be part of SafeCloud.eu and lead the state-of-the-art in machine-learning applications for aviation,” said Paula López-Catalá, Programme Director of Innaxis, one of the main partners and SafeClouds Project Lead.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EC research and innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.

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