Method for conducting a moving vehicle along a trajectory of a coordinated maneuver based on state information broadcast by other vehicles participating in the coordinated maneuver

A method for coordinating numerous vehicles within a common maneuver is characterized by receiving, at a moving vehicle, state and projected maneuver information of other vehicles participating in the maneuver via a broadcast link and utilizing the information to control the trajectory of the moving vehicle based on predicted paths of all participating vehicles for future times for which the maneuver is to be conducted. For simple maneuvers, such as flight-deck based self-spacing of aircraft in a runway approach, the method allows each participating vehicle to virtually perform the coordinated maneuver by predictive simulation using current state data to determine if corrective measures need be undertaken, or, if the predicted maneuver shows that it would complete as planned, maintaining its current trajectory. This affords vehicle operators the freedom to perform other duties, as the operators are alerted only when a change in state is necessitated. In the runway approach problem, the state changes are primarily in a change of speed and the choice of a simple, stepped speed profile reduces the amount of speed control that must be attended to by aircraft flight crews, allows for fuel efficient flight profiles within constraints of solving the spacing problem, and allows for higher runway throughput as compared with the prior art.

Patent #: 6718236 Issue Date: April 6, 2004