Virtualisation: A reality making its way to ATM in one form or another
As part of its examination of a series of emerging technologies the CANSO Strategic Technology Workgroup (STWG) recently released a whitepaper on virtualization in ATM. The paper explores examples of existing deployment of the technology as well as future concepts i.e., what could be achieved by implementing virtualisation to a maximum extent.
The most prominent instances of virtualisation currently are remote/digital towers. With quite a number of remote/digital towers becoming operational in recent years and more planned, it is safe to say that the technology has a proven track record.
While virtualisation of area control centres is not yet as broadly advanced, the technology for virtual centres is well evolved. Some virtual centre deployments are either already operational or will shortly be in place, both national and cross border. These implementations are supported by advanced infrastructures and service-oriented architecture as well as organisations of ANSPs in ATM Data Service Providers and ATS Providers.
Virtualisation in ATM is a growing trend and has the potential to lead to a better balance of air traffic controller workloads and more efficient use of the airspace. Further increased safety, decreased delays and traffic congestions as well as higher flexibility in handling air traffic can be expected as use cases continue to mature.