An Information Theoretic Approach for Generating an Aircraft Avoidance

Markov Decision Process

Developing a collision avoidance system that can meet safety standards required of commercial aviation is challenging. A dynamic programming approach to collision avoidance has been developed to optimize and generate logics that are robust to the complex dynamics of the national airspace. The current approach represents the aircraft avoidance problem as Markov Decision Processes and independently optimizes a horizontal and vertical maneuver avoidance logics. This is a result of the current memory requirements for each logic, simply combining the logics will result in a significantly larger representation. The "curse of dimensionality" makes it computationally inefficient and unfeasible to optimize this larger representation. However, existing and future collision avoidance systems have mostly defined the decision process by hand.

In response, a simulation-based framework was built to better understand how each potential state quantifies the aircraft avoidance problem with regards to safety and operational components. The framework leverages recent advances in signals processing and database, while enabling the highest fidelity analysis of Monte Carlo aircraft encounter simulations to date. This framework enabled the calculation of how well each state of the decision process quantifies the collision risk and the associated memory requirements. Using this analysis, a collision avoidance logic that leverages both horizontal and vertical actions was built and optimized using this simulation based approach.

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