Is IoT suitable to link navigation aids to AIM?
IoT is now everywhere around us. Indeed Internet of Things allows connectivity between physical devices and everyday objects such as connected watches. However, IoT is not yet part of aeronautical landscape even if some pioneer installations already exist, as example reporting on high obstacle lighting malfunctions. This reluctance from the aeronautical domain is probably due to two factors: The lack of digital message standardization to inform on equipment malfunctions and Cyber security threats.
Hervé Puget - TopSky – AIM product Manager, Thales
If we now focus on navigation aids equipment - crucial for air navigation and approach such as Non-Directional Beacons, Distance Measuring Equipment, Instrument Landing Systems, VHF Omnidirectional Range, Tactical air navigation system - we can easily see the benefit in automizing the notice of malfunction to pilots.
Indeed, as regards to navigation aids, the ratio of manually generated Notice to Air Men (NOTAM) is very high with 10% to 15% of all NOTAMs generated. Moreover, setting up a Digital Data Chain in Aeronautical Information Management (AIM) is a priority in the frame of AIS to AIM transition, this in order to enhance the quality and reliability of aeronautical information.
So introducing IoT on aeronautical equipment and more specifically on navigation aids to build this Digital Data Chain seems more than meaningful. Let's now focus on the 2 showstoppers identified above.
- The first one, the "lack of digital message standardization to inform on equipment malfunctions", is no longer an issue since AIXM5, and the digital NOTAM Event specifications from Eurocontrol - very mature on the aspect of "NAVAIDS Unserviceable".
- The second one, "Cyber security threats" is still to be monitored carefully but an appropriate design taking the cyber security requirements seems more appropriate rather than refraining to build a seamless digital data chain.
Followings these statements, it seems that it is now a good time to consider IoT for some Aeronautical equipment and more precisely for navigation aids. Based on this assumption, Thales relies on two unequaled predispositions:
- Thales is the only player with high-end solutions in both ATM and AIM. Thales is also the world leader in navigation aids with more than 7000 systems in 170 countries. These navigation aids are equipped with a ‘Remote Control and Monitoring System’ constantly monitoring all navigation aids, logging all changes and faults. So getting appropriate data from navigation aids equipment and turn them into AIXM5 digital NOTAM Event is easily achievable.
- Thales is the European leader in cybersecurity and world leader in data security. Moreover, with the recent acquisition of GEMALTO on the 2nd of April 2019, the aim for Thales is to create a global leader in digital security.
So be prepared to see IoT connected to AIM very soon.