The National Science Foundation recently awarded a grant to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor Stacy Patterson and fellow computer science professor Carlos Varela to develop a framework that will allow in-flight airplanes to share data about meteorological, mechanical, and environmental conditions with each other.
Researchers envision a future in which airplanes in flight share sensor data across an “internet of airplanes” to improve safety and efficiency. But when nodes in the network move at the speed of flight, realizing that vision requires a data sharing framework adapted to the challenges and needs of the environment.
With a three-year $325,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute computer scientists Stacy Patterson and Carlos Varela have teamed up to develop a prototype framework, the “Virtual Sky” platform, to fuse and analyze flight sensor data correctly, reliably, and quickly. Virtual Sky would serve as a model extension of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Next Generation Air Transportation System, a sweeping modernization of the National Airspace System that includes greater use of computer and satellite systems in air traffic elements like communication, navigation, weather, information management, and tracking.