MIT researchers are working on an algorithm that could help reduce the likelihood of airplane collisions in the sky, part of work to overhaul the FAA air traffic system.
The FAA's NextGen overhaul mandates that by 2020 all commercial aircraft broadcast GPS coordinates, which would be more accurate than ground-based radar.
The system uses GPS data to track hypothetical puck-shaped zones around smaller aircraft to keep them a safe distance apart. Thousands of small aircraft were involved in near-misses over the past decade and there were 112 midair collisions, according to MIT.
Researchers at the MIT International Center for Air Transportation (ICAT) based the system on months of real-world flight data. A chief goal was to reduce the frequency of false collision alarms. They decided to use two alerts: a moderate one when flight paths are converging, and a severe alert when a collision is imminent. … Read more