AAA4ATM - Analysis of Available Airspace for ATM

The goal of the project is the development of an analysis/forecast system for the prediction of available airspace within the next 6 hours based on the current distribution of convective weather phenomena that are obstructive to air traffic. To solve this issue, computer vision algorithms for object detection, feature extraction, tracking and extrapolation, as well as down/upsampling strategies in meteorological image processing and forecaster intervention are used.

Short Description


Weather is still a non-controllable yet projectable component in the European air traffic management network. Currently, a response is given usually only after the first occurrence of thunderstorms; even shorter-term planning is carried out as a part of air traffic control. Especially in the warmer months, convective weather phenomena such as cumulonimbus cloud cover and thunderstorms create dynamic obstacles to smooth aviation control. Although the weather cannot be controlled, improved planning measures can help reduce the impact on the overall ATM system.


Analysis and nowcasting system for determining available airspace.


The aim of the present project is an analysis/nowcasting system that can determine the future available airspace based on the current distribution of traffic-obstructive convective weather phenomena up to 6 hours in advance. This is essentially solved with image processing methods in a 3-step process which also takes into account the respective spatial and temporal scales:

  1. 0 – 30‘: Analysis and nowcasting (extrapolation) in 5' increments on objects with structures from a resolution of up to 1 km.
  2. 30‘ – max. 2h: 3D-tracking and further extrapolation methods are expected to predict objects and structures up to 5km in 15' increments.
  3. 2h – 6h: Blending the image structures and objects to objects and structures from the NWP models. Any inconsistencies are resolved through the possibility of forecaster intervention. It would be beneficial to increase the resolution up to 1 hour.


To solve this problem, appropriate image processing algorithms for object and structure recognition, feature extraction, tracking and extrapolation, as well as meteorological downscaling and upscaling are applied.

Expected results

At the end of this project, pre-operative test systems will be available. On the one hand, in the MET context, a graphical user interface for analysis, interpretation and, if necessary, modification (forecaster intervention) of convective objects and structures will be developed, whereas, on the other hand, in the ATM context, a human-machine interface that prepares the convective structures in the available airspace as a basis for decision-making for operational and tactical planning will also be developed. A rapid detection of all phenomena for ATCOs is an important constraint. In both cases, usability aspects will be taken into account.


Analysis and nowcasting system for determining available airspace.

Aviation Forum Austria 2016: AAA4ATM


Project Partners

Funding program: TAKE OFF