Challenges for surveillance products in a rapidly evolving environment

29 January 2018

Over the last 25 years EUROCONTROL has developed unparalleled field experience, developing a suite of essential surveillance products in ARTAS (ATM Surveillance Server and Tracker), SDDS (Surveillance Data Distribution) and SASS-C (Surveillance Analysis Support System for ATC centres) together with interoperability format ASTERIX (All-purpose Structured EUROCONTROL Surveillance Information Exchange); and building strong user communities for each. In inviting the surveillance stakeholder community to HQ last month for the Surveillance Services Information Days, we aimed to share our expertise, explore challenges with users, and look to the likely future evolution of these essential services for the ATM system.

Over 170 participants from ANSPs, industry, the military, other International Organisations (NATO, INEA) and also representatives from further afield (Brazil, the US and the Russian Federation) attended the two-day seminar, with presentations by a range of EUROCONTROL experts and speakers from the surveillance community (Austro Control, IAA, NLR and NAV-P).

One of the main themes of the event was the rapidly-changing surveillance environment, which has seen fast growth in activities and actors worldwide, making the continuation of the achievements made to date in putting in place a common, high-performance surveillance data processing infrastructure a challenging one, particularly with regard to ensuring global interoperability and efficiency, and avoiding fragmentation. EUROCONTROL surveillance experts outlined their views on how the Agency expects its surveillance products to evolve to help stakeholders meet future surveillance challenges. Of the surveillance-related subjects, how to apply surveillance to RPAS in particular saw considerable interest: drones challenge ATM to think differently and think radically, while at the same time maintaining the focus on safety. In similar fashion, future challenges for surveillance such as GADSS (Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System) and space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) also engaged the expert audience.

The conference provided valuable inputs for EUROCONTROL and its surveillance stakeholders. As Conference Chair Jean-Marc Duflot (Head of NMD/NS/SRS) emphasised in his wrap-up: “Networking and effective cooperation between partners are the keys to success, both for the current situation, and for the future surveillance challenges and opportunities. For EUROCONTROL, the two main takeaways were that technical harmonisation in surveillance data processing remains an essential and cost-effective step towards the implementation of Single Sky infrastructure; and that this obviously can only be built on the basis of close cooperation between all stakeholders. The meetings gave us as well the opportunity to establish valuable contacts with potential new users of surveillance products including beyond the pan-European area, confirming that what is good for Europe is good beyond.”

Participants rated the event highly, recognising EUROCONTROL’s significant role in this field, and particularly appreciating the opportunity to hear and discuss the latest thinking in their field, and the networking opportunities this afforded them.

Participants praised EUROCONTROL’s surveillance products as a genuine success story, responding to a common demand for surveillance data processing harmonisation for more than two decades. Indeed, EUROCONTROL develops and maintains its surveillance products in close cooperation with its stakeholder communities, continuously adapting and upgrading them to handle evolving surveillance technologies (Mode S radar, ADS-B, Multilateration), IT changes, and standards that are ‘living’ (safety requirements and Software Assurance Level (SWAL), and EUROCONTROL Specification for ATM Surveillance System Performance (ESASSP)).

The ATM world faces significant challenges that may impact surveillance such as RPAS surveillance, security aspects,  interoperability with non-ATM technologies, big data, etc. Here, EUROCONTROL intends to maintain its leading role in the provision of Europe-wide surveillance services and continue to provide best-fit solutions to the global surveillance community.

All presentations can be downloaded here.

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