Thursday, March 30, 2023 10:30AM

Ph.D. Proposal

Seulki Kim

(Advisor: Prof. Dimitri N. Mavris)

Development of an Automation Planning System for Urban Air Mobility Flight Management


Thursday, March 30 

10:30 a.m. EDT
Weber Space Science and Technology Building, Room 304

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The global trend of urbanization has resulted in increased traffic congestion and air pollution in urban cities. As a potential solution, a new air transportation system, called Urban Air Mobility (UAM) featuring Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, is expected to rapidly and effectively transport people and goods within urban airspace. To support normal and irregular UAM operations, flight planning and contingency planning will remain essential components, just as in traditional aviation. However, the distinctive operational characteristics of UAM, along with anticipated increased traffic densities and high operational tempos, may strain conventional human-managed planning. To handle the increased operational complexity of UAM flights, various government, industry, and academic initiatives are emphasizing the necessity of automation systems and digital communication tools.

Addressing the demand for automation systems in UAM, this research proposes an automation planning system, comprising 1) a flight planning module for creating and dynamically revising flight trajectories and 2) an in-flight contingency planning module to assist in diversion decision-making for selecting alternate landing sites. The flight planning module, leveraging mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) optimization, generates collision-free 4D trajectories for scheduled and on-demand multi-UAM operations and rapidly updates their intended trajectories in response to the dynamic operating environment. The contingency planning module, using the Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS), provides a reliable ranking of diversion aerodrome candidates for contingency aircraft. Considering the challenges of managing UAM operations, the development of an automation system will significantly contribute to the UAM field. Key potential stakeholders, including pilots, UAM operators, and air traffic controllers, are expected to employ the system, which is installable both onboard the aircraft and at ground facilities, to achieve safe, efficient, and equitable UAM flights.


  • Prof. Dimitri Mavris – School of Aerospace Engineering (advisor)
  • Prof. Daniel P. Schrage – School of Aerospace Engineering
  • Prof. Brian German – School of Aerospace Engineering
  • Dr. Cedric Y. Justin – School of Aerospace Engineering