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New challenges revealed for aviation at World Aviation Safety Summit

Posted 13 December 2018 · Add Comment

The 6th annual World Aviation Safety Summit revealed some of the biggest safety challenges and trends facing the international industry on day one of the event, which was being hosted by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), on December 11 and 12 in Dubai.

 

These trends include developments in regulation, and how machine learning and artificial intelligence can provide new solutions to aviation safety in the coming years.

The developments in regulation session focused on how harmonization of national law and regulations is needed with those of industry leading states.

Khalid Al Arif, executive director Aviation Safety and Environment Sector, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority set the regional scene. He spoke about how the Middle East air transport industry has witnessed rapid growth and development, which has brought a range of safety challenges. Increasing demand for air routes along with high levels of aircraft and UAV movements in a crowded airspace are some of these challenges. He called for more collaboration around safety management and incident prevention, as well as comprehensive and effective planning.

Omar Kaddoha, director of flight safety, directorate general of Civil Aviation in Lebanon stressed the importance of having a harmonization strategy to ensure the safety of the air transport sector under the guidance of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Whilst Cengiz Turkoglu, Senior Lecturer at Cranfield University said that regulators are still working to respond to industry needs and demands and that data analysis is having a major impact on safety. 

The World Aviation Safety Summit delivered a dedicated session that showcased how using artificial intelligence can help investigators in case analysis and provide them with real time insights. The session informed airports and airlines about the capabilities of existing systems and how AI solutions can be enabled to learn from recommendations from the past. DCAA demonstrated an Integrated Investigation and Notification System (IIAN) and the impact that it has had so far on operations.

Abdulla Mohammed Al Blooshi, head of accidents investigation section, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority commented on how machine learning and AI could have an impact on the future of aviation safety in terms of saving time and creating greater efficiency.

Over half of airlines are planning major artificial intelligence (AI) programs over the next three years, according to SITA’s Air Transport IT Trends Insights.  Over the next three years 80% of them plan to invest in major programs or R&D into prediction and warning systems, which rely heavily on AI.

An early example of AI technology that is already optionally available is in Airbus flight decks in the form of the runway overrun protection system (ROPS). It is a software system that reconciles aircraft approach speed and weight with the published length, condition and local weather of the runway it is approaching. Should there be a mismatch between these it warns with a message and also has an after touchdown mode, with a range of commands to encourage pilots to use maximum braking and reverse thrust.

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