Integration of air and ground computer systems?

From:         rigotti@caercn (Kevin Rigotti)
Date:         05 Mar 93 00:07:39 PST
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I earn a living (well almost) researching software systems for
supporting Air Traffic Control, but being a humble technocrat I don't
get to talk to people at the sharp end of things unless it directly
affects my work .... that being the case I'd be very interested to hear
from anyone with a well informed interest who has an opinion on
the following:

In order to increase capacity without increasing controller work-load
a number of tasks normally done solely by the ATC staff can be supported
by software; flight path monitoring, conflict prediction and short
term conflict alert, for example. Others can actually be performed by a
computer and checked by a controller, such as conflict resolution and 
inter-sector coordination.

Given that the pilot would have a similar level of computer support
from flight management systems, how integrated should the ground
and air systems be? What level of integration are people likely to
accept ? I'm assuming nobody would be happy (yet) with a completely
automatic system (no controller, no pilot), but where would you
draw the line? 

Kevin Rigotti 
Email :    (MIME & ATK)
Fax   : +44 (0)684 894109.
Post  : ATC Systems Division, DRA Malvern, Malvern WR14 3PS, England