Why Fully Automating Air Traffic Management Won't be a Good Decision

Automation plays an important role in assisting air traffic controllers in delivering the safest and most reliable service to aircraft passing through the airspace.

Fremont, CA: In the aviation industry, automation brings vast opportunities, introducing new possibilities to airspace users and providing more versatility in the services they offer. However, it all also brings new issues with it.


Air traffic controllers' role is to safely fly from one place to another efficiently because the safety of flights carrying hundreds of thousands of lives every day lies on them. Therefore, multiple layers of mechanisms and processes are integrated into their operation to ensure safety.

Automation can potentially enhance safety levels. A significant change in the future will be from controllers making decisions with tools supporting them to technologies making decisions without a human controller to oversee and accept the solution.

Thus, the need for more stricter acceptance criteria is crucial. The level of safety assurance needed to utilize automation will need to reflect that additional safety measure.


Airspace is challenging, and controllers need skill and judgment to handle it. After a demanding selection process, it takes three years to train as an air traffic controller. The human brain can solve problems in this environment because it can process a lot of information and can deal with uncertainty. However, a machine can handle a vast amount of information but not ambiguity.

Acceptance of Automation:

If humans do not embrace automation, be it traveling passengers, pilots, or regulators, the chances of experiencing the technology's full potential is less. Along with the passengers embracing automation, the trust between controllers and technology becomes crucial for the development of these solutions and systems in the air traffic management space.


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