As with most digital technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) is now widespread. Learning, reasoning, heuristic search and problem solving algorithms are found in a very wide range of applications. Most industrial and economic sectors are deploying these techniques in their engineering methods and products. Artists are experimenting with AI in their creative tools.
The EUROCONTROL Network Manager is planning a technology breakthrough and AI will be one of the most important enablers for the next generation system. AI already contributes to – and benefits from – an accelerated momentum of technology development, which is opening a wealth of opportunities in many different fields. AI technologies help medical professionals and benefit environmental protection and monitoring programmes, in agricultural projects and in the modelling and management of cities, infrastructures and industries. They contribute to safer and more efficient mobility and transport systems, offering effective tools for multi-modal and multi-lingual interaction and information querying.
The new NM’s system architecture involves much more than just a technological upgrade of the system that performs the demand-and-capacity balancing within Europe’s air traffic management (ATM) system – it will be a key enabler for the entire and profound digital transformation of the continent’s ATM network, changing the way the European network is managed and the relationships between all aviation stakeholders. AI techniques will become the mediator between the users and this new digital world. The challenge will be to be able to accurately analyse and qualify the safety properties of components and systems to go above the current safety standards.
The first digital transformation of NM was already a catalyser for the ATM digital transformation. It allowed NM to make ATM data widely available via its business-to-business services (NM B2B), promoting interoperability based on open standards, which is a core goal of the Interoperability Strategy of NM, a goal aligned with the European Aviation Strategy and the Digital Single Market. The NM B2B services have stimulated creativity and innovation and have contributed to safer and more operational-efficient and cost-efficient services. They have also enabled new entrants to the market, creating jobs. They form the backbone required for the inter-regional data exchange that supports the global ATFM vision.
At the March 2019 World ATM Congress, the European Commission’s Single European Sky (SES) recognised the contribution of NM’s interoperability initiatives to the digital transformation of the ATM and granted the SES Innovation Award to the ''Interoperability with the EUROCONTROL Network Manager” initiative.