U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces Completion of Major NextGen Foundational Technology

On 30/04/2015, in ATC world, by steve

eramU.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a significant NextGen milestone with the completion of En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM), a highly advanced computer system used by air traffic controllers to safely manage high-altitude traffic.

“Looking at the future of air travel, we know that there will be more planes in our skies and more people in our airports, and in order to meet this challenge we must integrate cutting-edge technology into our aviation system,” said Secretary Foxx.  “ERAM is a major step forward in our relentless efforts to develop and implement NextGen.  With this new technology, passengers will be able to get to their destinations, faster, safer, and have a smoother ride – all while burning less fuel to get there.”

ERAM is the backbone of operations at 20 of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) en route air traffic control centers.  The system, a crucial foundation for NextGen, drives display screens used by air traffic controllers to safely manage and separate aircraft.

“ERAM gives us a big boost in technological horsepower over the system it replaces,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.  “This computer system enables each controller to handle more aircraft over a larger area, resulting in increased safety, capacity, and efficiency.”

The first ERAM system went online at Salt Lake City Center in March 2012.  The final installation was completed last month at New York Center. 

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Up Close and Personal – Meeting the NAVYA Driverless Shuttle

On 17/04/2015, in The future is now, by steve

navyaHaving written about the NAVYA driverless shuttle I was of course very keen to meet the beast in person and to try her out in a real, down to Earth environment. Last Wednesday it was so far…

In fact the NAVYA we got to see was a first generation prototype but if this version is anything to go by, V2, due out in the fall of 2015, will be a smash hit worthy of consideration by even the most demanding user.

Before we launch into Wednesday’s adventure, let’s just recap what we are talking about here. NAVYA Technology, a French start-up located in Lyon, has put together an all-electric vehicle which is capable of navigating along a predetermined track with stops also pre-programmed, doing this all without a driver on board. What is more, the shuttle operates on existing roads or inside existing corridors of buildings without any kind of new infrastructure being needed. No driver, no expensive new infrastructure and you can see why it is easy to make the business case for a fleet of NAVYAs…

It is interesting to draw the parallels between automation as we know it on aircraft and the automation needed to make NAVYA work. While aircraft demand a very high degree of reliability, they do work in what I would call a friendly environment. Take the case of an automatic approach to land. Other aircraft are kept away by air traffic control, the descent angle is such that the aircraft is kept at a safe vertical distance from ground obstacles and the aim is to make the wheels touch down in a predetermined zone of a runway that is typically 60 meters wide and in excess of 3000 meters long. The automation “knows” how to fly and where it needs to go and that is about it.
Now take the NAVYA shuttle. The desired reliability is still very high but of course she can always stop if something goes wrong. But until then she is operating in a definitely hostile environment. There are other vehicles that move around in the same space our shuttle also calls her own, there may be obstacles on the roadway that need to be bypassed, pedestrians will turn up unexpectedly and when she has to stop, she must stop with centimeter precision…

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BluSky Services 12 years young

On 01/04/2015, in Anniversaries, by steve

If I recall correctly, 1 April 12 years ago was a nice spring day, quite unlike what we are facing this year. For us, the founders of BluSky Services (the owner of the Roger-Wilco blog) in any case the sun was out and we were full of enthusiasm and hope. The future looked bright indeed. Our optimism was perhaps a bit out of place, after all we were launching a new aviation consultancy in the middle of the deepest crisis aviation has ever faced… the negative effects of 9/11 were still very much with us and the airlines (our future clients…) were fighting for survival. But we had this feeling, this conviction that for us, for BluSky Services, the time was right. And indeed it was.
Looking back on the past 12 years we see ups and downs but the overall trend-line is definitely up. Alongside aviation, we have branched out into the beauty industry and strengthened our multimedia capabilities; we have successfully developed our activities in the training field with highly successful courses delivered in places as diverse as Dubai and Naples.
Of course these successes would not have been possible without the encouragement and support of our friends and associates, to whom a thanks for all they have done for us… from day one, and even before!
What about the future? BluSky Services will continue its drive to be a center of excellence and a leader in new technologies in aviation and beyond. Drone sourced image processing, intelligent driverless vehicles, even more powerful eLearning tools, new clients… all in the picture for the coming months and years.
It may be windy and cloudy outside on this anniversary but for us at BluSky the name says it all: blue skies mean trust in the future, trust in ourselves.
Happy Birthday BluSky Services!


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