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5 minutes with... Anita Vuckovic

Apr 15. 2024 

Hi Anita! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I joined Thales in 2014 as a Human Factors specialist, to work on the OneSky project in Australia. At the time, I was relatively green, having just done a couple of years professional work with the Australian defence, since finishing my PhD. At the time, I thought Thales was the coolest thing since sliced cheese. It was a company I had encountered during my PhD studies, since I was helping to directly test Thales’ system by observing experienced air traffic controllers using Thales’ automated flight plan conflict function in TAAATS (Australian Advanced Air Traffic System).  

Why did you choose to join Thales and the Airspace Mobility Solutions business?

I thought it would be really neat to see how the ATC system gets built, and help be a part of something important for our country and our society. It’s not often in life you get the chance to be a part of something like that. Besides that, I already got the bug to learn everything I could about air traffic control during my PhD studies.  

What is your current role at Thales?   

I have two hats. On one side, I’m constructing things - I lead the operational assessment of our Topsky products to ensure our product is fit to go. On the other side, I’m desconstructing things – I’m testing and braking things whilst heading up one of our innovation labs in AMS. 

On which solution/system do you work? 

I work with the air traffic control system called TopSky.  

When it comes to innovation, I work with a range of tools. Our SkyLab platform is home.   

What are your main challenges?  

Placing the cursor on present or future. Often I’m thinking about how I can put new things on the table, without losing the table’s legs. Something like that.  

What do you think are the current big challenges in innovation and how does Thales responds to that? 

A big challenge that keeps me going is trying to reduce the complexity and workload for the end user. The sheer size and intricacy of our ATM systems is impressive. There are many goodies inside, for obvious safety and operational reasons. It’s also full of techy stuff we all love. But on the other side, we can be really tied down by complexity and risk-aversion. Our systems can be really hard to manage, and hard to explain to someone at a weekend barbecue. It’s a kind of paradox of our domain. I would love to reduce this complexity, where possible, that we can make the lives of our end users easier, for common good.  

I find Thales is a place where you can shake these concepts in the labs, whilst still keeping things safe in the air and on the ground ! 

Do you have any advice for people interested in joining Thales?  

It’s an experience you will not forget, and it will expose you to many wild and woolly corners of the earth.  

If you had to convince engineers to join the Airspace Mobility Solutions business line, what would you tell them? 

You will find a lot of clever people with whom you’ll have strong relationships, debates, coffees, and laughs. But you’ll also write some requirements from times to time. 

If you like to engage in important work, that will challenge the breadth of your skills, then it’s a good place for you.  


Want to reach Anita? Contact her on LinkedIn