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AIRPORT SHOW: Prediction and collaboration in the cloud from Thales

Posted 25 May 2021 · Add Comment

French technology company Thales has launched two new cloud-based products at the Dubai Airport Show under its TopSky banner.

Christophe Lerat, business development manager, UTM & air traffic flow digital solutions, Thales Air Mobility Solutions, explained: “The two products we are introducing at the show are both cloud based. This is something new for us in that we are offering just services. No software, no hardware, just services through the cloud. While we are used to this in our everyday life, it is quite new for aviation. We provide nothing more than a login and a password.”

The TopSky UAS Traffic Management (UTM) service is an unmanned aircraft airspace manager blending air traffic control technologies with national, regional, and local data for drone airspace management, a growing concern globally for both civilian and military aviation.

The second product is TopSky Flow Manager, which predicts air traffic flow. Lerat said: “We can detect when there is an over capacity and suggestion solutions. It can also detect an under capacity and suggest reductions in service provision to save money . It is a resource management tool that predicts air traffic in the future, so operators can organise the number of controllers needed, and have a better use of the workforce. It can also be used by airports to predict use of runways and by airlines to predict the behaviour of their network – whether their flights will arrive on time, and if they will make the connection or not. It is designed to predict a problem, and react in advance.”

For customers the investment is minimal, as the cloud-based service requires no purchase of hardware or software, and no potential clashes with current systems. Lerat said: “It is an add on, so it is not dependent on any infrastructure that the client already has. It is full cloud, so we just need to input the flight plans, through a standard interface, but otherwise we are fully independent of the ATM system. We then provide a login and password, the customer logs in and we configure the data that he requires in his country. We have a global vision, also accessible to the customer, but we provide the information that is relevant to his operation.”

TopSky Flow Manager also brings in the element of collaboration between stakeholders. Lerat explained: “This tool has a chat window for CDM, which is collaboration decision making. This window is designed for people who share the same view to chat and decide which flight they are going to delay and how they are going to modify the situation, so that the problem that is predicted does not occur. Each airline can put forward which airline they would like to be delayed or not, depending on connections.

“Thanks to the cloud we can share the vision of the situation with many stakeholders. You can have thousands of stakeholders all sharing the same vision and communicating with ATCs. The ATC can propose a measure and the airlines can react and have input before the decision is made.

“In Europe we have EuroControl, but in the Middle East we have nothing for international co-ordination and this kind of tool is the start of the first step of EuroControl-like coordination between the nations. I hope it will help to smooth aviation, to protect the environment and make the best use of resources,’ he added.

Christophe Lerat, business development manager, UTM & air traffic flow digital solutions, Thales Air Mobility Solutions (Image: Jill Stockbridge)




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