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ALARMS: Alerting and Reasoning Management System for Next Generation Aircraft Hazards

by   Alan S. Carlin, et al.

The Next Generation Air Transportation System will introduce new, advanced sensor technologies into the cockpit. With the introduction of such systems, the responsibilities of the pilot are expected to dramatically increase. In the ALARMS (ALerting And Reasoning Management System) project for NASA, we focus on a key challenge of this environment, the quick and efficient handling of aircraft sensor alerts. It is infeasible to alert the pilot on the state of all subsystems at all times. Furthermore, there is uncertainty as to the true hazard state despite the evidence of the alerts, and there is uncertainty as to the effect and duration of actions taken to address these alerts. This paper reports on the first steps in the construction of an application designed to handle Next Generation alerts. In ALARMS, we have identified 60 different aircraft subsystems and 20 different underlying hazards. In this paper, we show how a Bayesian network can be used to derive the state of the underlying hazards, based on the sensor input. Then, we propose a framework whereby an automated system can plan to address these hazards in cooperation with the pilot, using a Time-Dependent Markov Process (TMDP). Different hazards and pilot states will call for different alerting automation plans. We demonstrate this emerging application of Bayesian networks and TMDPs to cockpit automation, for a use case where a small number of hazards are present, and analyze the resulting alerting automation policies.


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