The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to establish an Aviation Studies Institute (ASI) to advance air traffic management (ATM) research and development (R&D) in Singapore.
The agreement was signed by Kevin Shum, director-general, CAAS and Professor Chong Tow Chong, president, SUTD, on the sidelines of the World Civil Aviation Chief Executives Forum, held at the Singapore Aviation Academy earlier this month.
The ASI, to be located within SUTD’s campus, will be the fourth facility dedicated to ATM R&D established in Singapore and the first to focus on operational, economic and policy research. This complements and enhances SUTD’s aviation focus in research and education, and offers students a macro view of the aviation system, and a deeper understanding of its value creation to stakeholders.
Under the Centre of Excellence for ATM initiative, CAAS has also established the ATM Research Institute (ATMRI) with the Nanyang Technological University, the MITRE Asia Pacific Singapore (MAPS) with The MITRE Corporation and a joint laboratory with the Institute for Infocomm Research, which is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research family.
The ASI will undertake research projects which aim to benefit the wider aviation community by enabling stakeholders to adopt solutions that can enhance operational efficiency, increase capacity and global interoperability.
The ATM tools and policy recommendations developed by the ASI will have significant impact in Singapore and the ASEAN region, and facilitate dialogue on region-wide collaborative approaches. For a start, the ASI will conduct research in the following four areas:
- Network Capacity
- Airfield Management and Economics
- Airport Connectivity
- Information Sharing and Collaborative Decision Making
Over the next five years, CAAS will provide S$11.6 million to fund the aviation and ATM policy research undertaken by the ASI, as well as aviation experts for research projects, while SUTD will provide in-kind contributions of S$5 million, including research manpower and facilities.
The collaboration will benefit from the synergy between CAAS’ domain knowledge in aviation, and SUTD’s expertise in systems engineering, operations research, data analytics, network analysis and game theory. As a leading air navigation services provider in the Asia-Pacific, CAAS has expertise and experience in ATM operations and has contributed actively to ATM modernisation and harmonisation efforts in the region. SUTD will draw on research expertise from manufacturing and supply chain systems, telecommunications systems, financial systems, sharing economies, and hybrid transportation systems to bring fresh perspectives to the challenges facing air traffic system design and management.
“The ASI is a key element of CAAS’ larger effort to develop Singapore as a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for ATM and facilitate the development of safer and more efficient air travel. It will expand the scope of ATM R&D in Singapore to generate insights for improving and transforming our operating models,” said Shum.
“The ASI represents a major step forward in one of the four major thrusts of SUTD’s strategic growth plan. We see aviation, healthcare and cities as three critical domain challenges facing Singapore with the technology of Artificial Intelligence undergirding future advances in all three. All four thrusts build on SUTD’s bold advocacy for design innovation. The partnership with CAAS reinforces this vision as the ASI will not only tackle practical problems in the Aviation policy domain but also approach them from a system design perspective and leverage the computational tools of data analytics, optimisation and reinforcement learning,” said Professor Chong.
An ASI Governing Council (GC) will be established to provide strategic directions and steer the R&D efforts of the ASI. The GC will be co-chaired by Shum and Professor Chong, with members from both CAAS and SUTD. Professor Peter Jackson, head of the engineering systems and design pillar at SUTD, will be the first director of the ASI, and he will report directly to the GC. He will lead the ASI’s management team as well as professors and researchers overseeing the R&D projects undertaken by the Institute.