This is the 19th year of the Integrated Communication, Navigation and Surveillance technologies (ICNS) Conference. What started in 2001 by NASA Glenn Research Center as a primarily U.S.-focused CNS workshop has now become the key global annual event, addressing worldwide long-term CNS research and developments, as well as implementation of conventional and integrated CNS technologies.
The 2019 conference theme, “Enabling Future Flight through Evolving Integrated CNS Technologies,” was chosen to emphasize the increasing maturity of the concept of integrated technologies, which are now being increasingly deployed in aviation. Very recently, on March 26, the very first flight test of the L-Band Digital Aviation Communication System, better known as LDACS, took place.
LDACS, the future terrestrial datalink, is a truly integrated CNS technology, offering communication and navigation functionalities. The realization of the future ATM operational concepts, which are being defined today in SESAR, NextGEN, CARATS, and CAAMS – the major ATM/CNS regional modernization projects – will inevitably result in more integration of capabilities stemming from the CNS infrastructure and technologies.
Integrated CNS components will provide major cost and technical benefits, support new services and enable the future flight. However, it is our responsibility to make sure that this happens in a safe, efficient, and controlled manner. Integration of CNS means exploitation of synergies, opportunities for complementary and advanced new capabilities supporting the future services, and more efficient use of the aviation spectrum. It means economies of space and weight for the aircraft. We must, however, be mindful that such integration does not introduce new vulnerabilities or help to establish single nodes of failure!
There are three packed days in this year’s ICNS Conference. Each day will start with a morning plenary session, addressing hot topics of global relevance from different perspectives: political, economic, operational as well as technological. Then, after lunch, there will be parallel sessions with presentations of technical papers providing a unique opportunity to get technical details, ask specific questions and engage in a dialogue with the field experts and researchers.
On Tuesday, the first day of the conference, we had to make a last minute change due to an unforeseen emergency situation. Regrettably, we have to cancel the planned opening keynote. Instead, I will fill in and present “Observations and Challenges for the Future of CNS.”
The opening keynote will be followed by the “Global Harmonization” plenary session, our recurring plenary session highlighting the importance of global harmonization and convergence for CNS. This session will be moderated by Michael Standar, SJU, the SESAR Joint Undertaking, and Steve Bradford, FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration.
Michael and Steve were the joint winners of last year’s ICNS Champion Award and have divided their session in two parts. In the first, the speakers will be representatives from ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the FAA for the U.S., SDM, the SESAR Deployment Manager for Europe, and JCAB, the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau for Japan.
They will provide updates on the global and regional CNS plans and the priorities identified for the coming years. The second part will see representatives from EUROCONTROL, MITRE, Airbus, and Boeing discussing how the integration in CNS is expected to progress.
On Wednesday this year, we have introduced a second conference keynote speech. Captain Terry McVenes, the recently announced president and CEO of RTCA, will talk about the recent changes in RTCA and outline his vision for the standards development in the 21st Century.
The “CNS Standardization and Certification” plenary will follow, moderated by the FAA’s Stephen Van Trees. This plenary will involve representatives from the FAA Certification Office, RTCA and AEEC/ ARINC, and will further develop the theme of the keynote, addressing the CNS standardization and certification developments. The different speakers will discuss in particular what changes may be needed in the standardization and certification processes, to better support and facilitate the certification and eventual implementation of the new and more complex future CNS systems.
The morning will conclude with an interactive workshop focusing on the Global Aeronautical Distress & Safety System (GADSS). Dr. Lance Sherry, George Mason University, and Denise Ponchak, NASA, have put together an expert panel, with representatives from Aireon, Inmarsat, FlightAware, and United Airlines. This workshop will be facilitated by Mr. Woodrow Bellamy III from Avionics Magazine, and the panel will discuss the implications of GADSS to service providers and users.
On Thursday, we will start with the “Future Communications Infrastructure Status” plenary, moderated by the FAA’s Brent Phillips. This plenary will bring to- gether a panel of experts from Honeywell, WiMAX Forum, DLR, Inmarsat, Iridium and the FAA to provide updates on the network and datalink technologies considered in the context of the future communications infrastructure (FCI). The plenary will also address spectrum aspects, a critical enabler for the aviation datalink technologies, which in turn are enabling the future operational concepts in aviation.
The morning will conclude with the “UAS – From Hype to Reality” plenary, moderated by Paul Bosman, EUROCONTROL, and Joe Morra, FAA. The plenary will bring together a panel with representatives from FAA, ANSI, IATA, Austrocontrol, and NASA, who will address various aspects of the UAS integration and discuss, in particular, how we manage risk in this new operational environment.
Apart from the morning plenary sessions, there is an equally exciting afternoon technical program on all three days, put together by Dr. Gregory Woo and Dr. Jonathan Lee, both from Volpe Center. There will be more than 100 technical presentations, providing a diverse and exciting collection of research, testing, and future technology ideas and exploring recent developments in technology and system design. Complementing the plenary discussions, the technical program is organised into 5 major tracks, covering cybersecurity, UAS, ATM, CNS and special topics, in altogether 30 technical sessions!
It is also important to mention the morning and afternoon breaks, as well as the breakfasts, lunches and evening events. All serve to provide excellent networking opportunities for an enhanced, efficient and informal exchange of views among policy makers, researchers and field experts. We do want to offer you the best care the conference can afford, as you, the conference participants, are the biggest and most important asset of this conference. It is you, leaders from government, industry and academia, as well as senior and junior technical experts, addressing important policy issues and discussing the future directions. It is your plenary speeches, your technical papers and presentations, your questions and your active involvement that makes this conference indeed the premier global CNS event for sharing developments, networking, and inspiring discussions.
The ICNS Conference is a not-for-profit event, with any surplus used primarily to support AIAA scholarships. We take pride in organizing a conference with many offerings for the participants. However, such organization requires revenues, which come from your registration fees and the conference sponsorship. Indeed, sponsor- ship is critical to maintain affordable registration fees and I want to specifically thank Boeing, our Silver sponsor, Frequentis, our Bronze sponsor, and Aireon, Honeywell, Mitre and Mosaic ATM, our supporter sponsors for their continuous support.
On Tuesday evening, there will be a reception to recognize sponsor support, and I encourage all to attend. On this occasion, our guest speaker, Hugh Blair- Smith, who has designed guidance and navigation hardware and software for the NASA Apollo missions to the moon, as well as fault tolerance software for the Space Shuttle, will provide an informative and entertaining keynote based on his successful book, Left Brains for the Right Stuff. Then, on Wednesday evening, do not miss the ICNS 2019 dinner, with a very entertaining and fun activity program, excellent food and lots of networking opportunities in a very informal and relaxing setting.
Before closing, I want to thank in particular all the volunteers and staff that have made this event a reality. I had the chance to work with a wonderful supportive team of chairs and the members of the ICNS executive committee (IEC). I also want to acknowledge the track and session chairs for providing invaluable contributions for the realization of the technical program, the keynote speakers, the plenary and workshop chairs, and all the plenary panelists for their expertise and willingness to openly discuss important policy issues with the audience, and the authors of the technical papers and presentations for being at the heart of the conference and providing an insight into ongoing projects and latest research results. Last but not least, I want to thank you, the conference attendees, for your interest and active participation in this conference and encourage you to keep asking questions and challenging constructively the speakers and presenters, aiming to refine the best ideas and plans ahead.
I hope that ICNS 2019 will meet your expectations and prove to be interesting, enlightening, informative and enjoyable and convince you that ICNS is a not-to-be- missed annual event.
Dr. Nikos Fistas
ICNS 2019 Conference General Chair