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MIT to develop system to prevent mid-air collisions

Massachusetts, US: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) asked researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to create an algorithm for a new tracking system to predict and prevent collisions between small aircraft. The new system broadcasts GPS data between aircraft. FAA mandated that by 2020 all commercial aircraft and small aircraft flying near most airports must be equipped with the new tracking system instead of depending on ground radar.
In the last 10 years, 112 small planes have been involved in midair collisions and thousands more have reported close calls, according to MIT’s press statement. The key challenge in designing a collision-detection algorithm, MIT researchers said, is limiting false alarms.
“If half the time it ‘s a false alert,” study leader Maxime Gariel said, “[people] are not going to listen to it, or they’ll turn it off.”
Maxime Gariel from MIT said, “The algorithm has to have some room for error. While GPS is more accurate than radar tracking, it is not perfect nor are the communications channels that planes would use to exchange location information. Therefore, much of the work on the new algorithm has involved optimising the trade-off between error tolerance and false alarms.”
Researchers settled on a two-tiered system of alerts: a moderate alert would warn pilots that their trajectories are converging, and a high alert would indicate a severe risk of collision.
Source: UPI