Technology

Advancing aviation, keeping the skies safe is what we strive to do every day. Not just in our own airspace, but across the world. This week, a team from NATS will be presenting at the Global ATM Safety Conference to share some of the work that we have been doing on a Standard of Excellence in Safety Management Systems (SoE in SMS) measurement tool.

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Can you tell us what the project is about and how the idea of using drones to fill potholes in the UK came about?

This project aims to tackle the Grand Challenge of Zero disruption from street works in UK cities by 2050, by developing robots that will identify, diagnose and repair street-works through minimally invasive techniques, starting with three case studies:

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With the volume of air traffic set to increase across Europe in the coming years; it is vital we have the communications infrastructure in place to suppose the exchange of data between Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), Airports and the Military, as well as the Pan-European Network Manager (PENS). PENS is the common network service used primarily by ANSPs and Eurocontrol to share air traffic management data.

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Starting tomorrow, the sectors that control Heathrow, Gatwick and the airspace to the South and South-East of these airports will switch over to EXCDS. This is obviously a particularly busy area of airspace, covering the approach function for the UK’s two busiest airports.

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Navigation at sea is very different to aviation – with the exception of a few very busy traffic management schemes such as those in the English Channel, ships are largely left to depend upon the training of the captain and self-separation. But on the issue of drones, there is absolute agreement – they are already here and are able to deliver substantial benefit to UK plc.

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We are always looking for new ways to challenge and inspire our thinking; part of that involves making sure that our solutions are not limited to a narrow Air Traffic Management (ATM) perspective and are instead considering how knowledge from other disciplines could be applied to ATM.

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As we set a course for the new year, we thought it was a good time to reflect on our most popular web content for 2016; it gives us the chance to look again not just at the blog, but also our popular Discover features and the Drone Assist app.

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Although Scottish schools are back in session, this week hundreds of school children are taking a field trip to an airport to learn all about the importance of Science, Technology, English and Maths at the Scottish Airshow STEM event.

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Airspace is our invisible infrastructure: we might not be able to see it, but it is as important as our roads, our railways and our runways.

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