ISOBAR and 4DSkyways projects win at the Digital European Sky Awards

Designed to celebrate successful SESAR 2020 projects & achievements in exploratory research, industrial research and demonstration, the SESAR 3 JU’s Digital European Sky Awards shine a spotlight on the most promising research and innovation work.

The 2023 edition saw projects involving EUROCONTROL win in 2 of the 3 categories, with ISOBAR winning the SESAR Exploratory Research Award and EUROCONTROL-led 4DSkyways successful in the industrial research category (with another project involving the Agency, ALBATROSS, nominated in the demonstration category, and awarded the People's Choice award).

ISOBAR – or "Artificial Intelligence Solutions to Meteo-Based DCB Imbalances for Network Operations Planning" to give it its full name – is a project involving a wide range of partners. Our work at our Innovation Hub has significantly contributed to the development of the ISOBAR prototype, which uses machine learning to predict the severity and probability of convective weather events and their impact on en-route capacity.

  ISOBAR - Winner in the SESAR Exploratory Research category  5th from the left: Ramón Dalmau Codina (EUROCONTROL - Innovation Hub)

Successful simulations with operational partners at our Innovation Hub proved the technical feasibility and operational acceptability of a new collaborative framework for the EUROCONTROL Network Manager, area control centres and airspace users for managing critical weather convective situations within a cross-border environment.

The framework incorporates innovative AI-based components to predict the convective weather up to 36 hours in advance, forecast the impact of traffic demand on capacity, and provide automated solutions.

  4DSkyways - Winner in the SESAR Industrial Research category  Peter Alty (left) & Mihail Genchev (right) from EUROCONTROL

4DSkyways (PJ.18), winner of the Industrial Research Award, validates trajectory-based operations in the flight execution phase, including improvements to conflict detection and resolution tools via downlinked trajectory data from the aircraft and uplinked CPDLC clearances. The project has performed 21 validation exercises including several real-time simulations on ANSP/industry platforms. The consortium comprises 31 partners from industry and ANSPs, and airspace user involvement has been secured via a EUROCONTROL airspace user contract.

Our role has been to act as project coordinator, to lead concept and requirement documents, to perform comprehensive validations on the ESCAPE and IDEAS validation platforms and at our Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre, and to lead safety assessments and a CBA.

Last but not least, ALBATROSS – an Airbus-led project involving EUROCONTROL and a wide range of aviation stakeholders – won the people's choice award for its work trialling the latest technology to achieve the most fuel-efficient flights possible in real-life operating conditions.

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