Member since: Oct 21, 2010, NASA Ames Research Center

ASIAS - Some History

shared by DAWN MCINTOSH, updated on Sep 10, 2010


The ASIAS effort builds on demonstrations that an open exchange of information contributes to improved aviation safety. ASIAS is a comprehensive effort, covering the collection and secure maintenance of aviation data, the analysis performed on that data, and long-term research to better extract safety information from the data.

In the mid-90s, NASA researchers started briefing the JIMDAT of CAST on how extracting and integrating information from many sources, and multiple perspectives (including controllers and flight crews) could help them improve aviation safety. The NASA Integrated Safety Data for Strategic Response (ISDSR) concept was incorporated into the JIMDAT concept, ASIAS, which was presented to CAST as essential capabilities, and was then adopted. In parallel with these activities, the FAA encouraged NASA to undertake the Information Sharing Initiative (ISI), a collaborative effort among FAA, NASA, the air carriers and the unions, to develop the DNFA and DNAA (two key srouces of data for ASIAS). A 5-yr plan for collaboration between NASA and the FAA to develop ISDSR was proposed, but was never put into place. That plan would have continued the collaboration with provisions for NAS to develop the analytical tools and transfer them to the FAA for implementation.

NASA has, and continues to, develop advanced algorithms to mine the various data sources for information that could continue to maintain and improve the safety of the air transportation system. Such algorithms have already been developed by NASA to identify atypical flights revealing unexpected events and etermine why they were anomalous, to identify anomalous cockpit procedures (switches flipped in the cockpit) during takeoff and landing for possible evidence of problems with the automated systems, and to categorize submitted safety reports such as those submitted to ASRS or ASAP into one or more defined categories to aid the search for clues as to why safety-related events may have occurred.

ASIAS provides a vital mechanism for monitoring for safety concerns as we transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Not only can ASIAS examine for any indication of hypothesized concerns, but, with the NASA-developed data mining tools, ASIAS can also monitor for statistical trends suggesting the potential emergence of new issues unanticipated or unimagined during the design and testing of NextGen concepts.

ASIAS has been carefully developed to capitalize upon the best attributes of earlier research at NASA, while also providing necessary guarantees for anonymity and data protection and while using scientifically justified, rigorous methods for estimating frequencies and causality. NASA's role in the ASIAS effort is to continue to develop these advanced data mining tools and methods to better analyze data voluntarily provided by the aviation community.

Acronym List:
ASAP: Aviation Safety Action Program
ASRS: Aviation Safety Reporting System
ASIAS: Aviation Safety Information Analysis & Sharing
CAST: Commercial Aviation Safety Team
FAA: Federal Aviation Administration
ISDSR: Integrated Safety Data for Strategic Response
ISI: Information Sharing Initiative
JIMDAT: Joint Implementation Monitoring Data Analysis Team
NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration


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