This paper explores the problem of managing movements of aircraft along the surface of busy airports. Airport surface management is a complex logistics problem involving the coordination of humans and machines. The work described here arose from the idea that autonomous towing vehicles for taxiing aircraft could offer a solution to the 'capacity problem' for busy airports, the problem of getting more efficient use of existing surface area to meet increasing demand. Supporting autonomous surface operations requires continuous planning, scheduling and monitoring of operations, as well as systems for optimizing complex human-machine interaction. We identify a set of computational subproblems of the surface management problem that would benefit from recent advances in multi-agent planning and scheduling and probabilistic predictive modeling, and discuss preliminary work at integrating these components into a prototype of a surface management system.
Morris, R., Pǎsǎreanu, C. S., Luckow, K., Malik, W., Ma, H., Satish Kumar, T. K., & Koenig, S. (2016). Planning, scheduling and monitoring for airport surface operations. In AAAI Workshop - Technical Report (Vol. WS-16-01-WS-16-15, pp. 608–614). AI Access Foundation.