UNO Gets $1.5 Million NASA Grant for Air Traffic Research

The University of New Orleans is the recipient of a 3-year $1.5 million NASA grant to make improvements to the nation's air traffic system.

Researchers will develop solutions to major challenges that are crucial for improving the efficiency and safety of the next-generation U.S. air traffic system, also known as NextGen. NextGen is the federal government's comprehensive overhaul of the national air traffic system, which will greatly increase air traffic capacity and safety.

A major component of NextGen is giving pilots more power to fly their plans instead of merely following the instructions of air traffic controllers. Researchers on this project will develop solutions for information processing and management that will enable pilots to make informed decisions based on four-dimensional trajectories of their planes and other nearby planes.

The title of the project is "Integrated Trajectory Information Processing and Management for Aircraft Safety."

The principal investigator is X. Rong Li, professor of electrical engineering, and the co-investigators are Vesselin Jilkov and Huimin Chen, associate professors of electrical engineering. The UNO researchers will be joined on the project by colleagues from LSU and Southern University.

"Air traffic demand in the United States has been forecast to double by the year 2025, and the current system is already strained and cannot scale to meet this demand," Li said. "Our project will enable heavier yet safer air traffic. It will not only help pilots but also the entire next-generation air traffic system."