Integration of Unmanned Aviation Systems within the National Airspace System: A Multi-Objective Risk Management Approach

White, James, Systems Engineering - School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Haimes, Yacov, Department of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Virginia

The future of the National Airspace System (NAS) managed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will see a major increase in the proliferation of unmanned aviation systems (UAS) as the technologies for those systems advance, new uses are discovered. At the same time, new rules under the Next Generation (NextGen) NAS modernization program will include new methods of air traffic management relying on the Global Positioning System (GPS) and a more efficient flight management concept called Trajectory Based Operations (TBO). The FAA must develop the new airspace rules and procedures to enable full integration of UAS into airspace previously reserved for manned aircraft only. These policies must balance growth in UAS use over time with a need to maintain safety, as well as continuing to ensure efficiency for traditional aviation operations. Lack of capabilities like “see and avoid” and volatility in the controllability of UAS contribute significantly to concerns about the safety of UAS integration. Presently, airspace rules for UAS that do not meet NAS airworthiness standards do accommodate some use by requiring extremely large safety separation intervals from manned aircraft, achieved through the use of exclusive Special Activity Airspace (SAA) which in turn reduces airspace efficiency for other NAS users. Linking safety and efficiency through the configuration and separation intervals between aircraft frames the UAS integration as a competing multiple objectives problem, which previous models have not directly considered. This thesis presents a methodological framework for assessing optimal tradeoffs between multiple NAS objectives from the key system state and input variables in terms of available risk management options. By understanding these optimal tradeoffs, the FAA can develop new risk management strategies for integrating UAS which remain non-inferior in consideration of efficiency objectives. The methodology remains applicable even when more objectives are added to the system.

MS (Master of Science)
unmanned aviation system, risk management, tradeoffs, systems integration, unmanned systems, multiple objectives
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