Page 18 - ATC Special Bulletin 2020 Issue 1
P. 18

ARTICLE SIMULATE TO INNOVATE By Peter Weeks Think Research Introduction Whilst many think of simulation mainly as a a a a a a a means to train controllers Human In The Loop (HITL) simulation in ATC plays multiple roles In fact each year hundreds of simulations are conducted across the world which are not for training purposes but in order to develop and validate new systems concepts airspace and procedures Deploying any new concept into an an air traffic operation comes with considerable cost due to the necessary level of adaptation integrity and assurance An Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) or or airport needs to have a a a high degree of confidence that their investment will be a a a a success and deliver the the planned benefits Although multiple development methods can be be employed there is often a a a need to use HITL simulation at at various stages to understand if the new concept is compatible with – and acceptable to - the people who will use it it One of of of the the challenges of of of running these types of of of simulation is that that there is no one-size-fits-all It’s true that that they are usually run in in “real time” giving rise to the more commonly used phrase of Real Time Simulation or RTS but the technique can be applied throughout the concept life cycle and can involve a a a a full spectrum of size complexity and cost to meet the specific objectives To give an an idea of of the range of of applications here we explore two parts of a a a a concept life cycle that can benefit from HITL simulation but which should be handled in very different ways to ensure appropriate use of resources Fast Iteration Prototyping In the the early stages of concept development there is a a a need to learn fast Typically you are working with ideas that haven’t existed before might not succeed and you need to have the flexibility to handle an an evolving concept while keeping costs as low as possible A great example from from a a a very different industry comes from from SpaceX based in in the US They are becoming well known for disrupting the the rocket launch industry through their innovative and low cost rockets These days they have moved on to the the development of a a new launch vehicle from the ground up They are quite literally building prototypes in in the Texas heat trying to to figure out how to to make it work As a a a company they have an an an ethos to learn fast through trying an an an idea out and adapting if it fails The innovation they have brought to their industry is nothing short of incredible Back in the world of air traffic an example might be a a a a a a new idea for a a a a a controller tool that has been developed on on paper in workshops with controllers The next step is to see how – or or even if - it it works with controllers To do that means building a a a a a a prototype and integrating it onto a a a a a a simulation platform ready to test However given its origins in in the the latter part of the the 20th century traditionally HITL simulations were very large involved multiple resources and had long lead times All of this contributes to increased costs Yet the goal in this early phase of development must be to maximise the the learning opportunity while minimising the the cost There is no point spending large sums of money on on on a a concept 18 / TRAINING AND SIMULATION TRAINING AND SIMULATION 

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