En-Route Sector Metering using a Game-Theoretic Approach

Goutam Satapathy, Vikram Manikonda, John Robinson, and Todd Farley

Currently, Traffic Management Coordinators in the Air Route Traffic Control Centers establish flow constraints at various sector meter fixes, based on their best estimates of the predicted traffic demand into their sector. Sector flow rates are not coordinated between neighboring sectors or centers. Incorrect sector metering rates can lead often lead to a cascade effect resulting in delays in the schedules of aircraft several sectors away. In this paper we develop an approach for dynamic sector metering based on game theory. The approach is based on a Bayesian game with communication, wherein the sectors determine mutually beneficial metering rates (based on collaboration and exchange of metering rates and negotiated Scheduled Times of Arrival) chosen so as to optimize delay, controller workload and capacity. We formalize the model for a simplified scenario consisting of two sectors belonging to two different centers, attempting to set the flow rates at their boundaries. The simplified models for the two-player (sector) game capture the coupling of dynamics between the two sectors and possible interactions between incoming and outgoing traffic flows. The inbound aircraft from other sectors and outbound flow rate restriction to other sectors are generated from a stochastic time series model. To demonstrate feasibility we implement our approach on a simplified version of agent-based decision support to captures inter center/sector communication and decentralized decision-making.

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