Risk Modeling of Sequential Decision-making in the National Airspace System and with Unmanned Aerial Systems

Werner, Jin Hi, Systems Engineering - School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Haimes, Yacov, Department of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Virginia

The National Airspace System (NAS) is expected to change dramatically over the next decade with the development of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) NextGen initiative. One major challenge the FAA will be facing during this time is the projected increase of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in domestic airspace, and the integration of these vehicles into the NAS without disrupting the current volume of manned aerial operations. As UAS technologies have matured over the last few years, a number of applications have become feasible, both for civil and military uses. The problem regulators are facing is that the introduction of UAS has the potential for such a wide range of impact on the already complex NAS, making exhaustive testing of all design options impossible. This, in turn, makes the identification and evaluation of risks difficult.
The FAA is also charged with making a large number of strategy decisions concerning the development of NextGen standards, procedures, and design choices in a short amount of time, many of which will not manifest themselves until several years from now. The challenge in making each of these decisions is being able to evaluate its impact not only on the project that the decision pertains to, but also on interdependent subsystems of the NAS. This thesis will develop a framework with which to evaluate the impacts of these current decisions on future options by making use of the shared state space among subsystems of the NAS, and will demonstrate the efficacy of this framework by focusing on a set of decisions pertaining to one NAS subsystem.

MS (Master of Science)
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