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Innovation & Research

Innovation & Research

The foundation of our technology leadership

A solid technological basis and high capacity for innovation are the drivers of research & development at Frequentis. The company is widely recognised as an innovation leader in the markets it serves.

Technological competence paired with solid domain know-how ensures that systems and solutions delivered to customers remain at the highest technical level; at the same time, actively pushing development and standardisation forward. Participation in international research projects allows the company to actively create an innovative future.

Research activities are a cornerstone of technology leadership. Corporate initiatives are driven by a customer need or a promising technological concept. Thus, research projects are either a joint undertaking with a customer or carried out within the framework of an international research programme that also involves customers. This means every research project is guided by an approved business case and the overarching goal is to set international standards in relevant fields. Research efforts always benefit from diversity, which is why a high value is placed on the exchange of ideas and insights with customers and cooperation with universities, research institutions and other industry partners. These collaborations enable the company to anticipate technological challenges and identify the requirements that next generation systems need to address. Demonstrations and developments that provide proof of concept allow for early validation of new technological approaches and operational concepts.

Frequentis’ SESAR engagement is a good example that has received high appreciation in Europe and beyond. SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) aims to improve Air Traffic Management performance by modernising and harmonising ATM systems through the definition, development, validation and deployment of innovative technological and operational ATM solutions. SESAR 1 has successfully concluded. Frequentis is leading the consortium “Frequentis SESAR Partners” and now fully commits itself to SESAR 2020, the continuation of this European research initiative, with even higher emphasis on product-orientated and solution-orientated research.

With all technological improvements and changes, Frequentis retains a high focus on the humans that use the company’s products and their specific working environment. An integrated display of all relevant information offers important support for the controller, operations manager, officer-in-command or other decision makers when they have to cope with stressful working conditions. A dedicated user interface design process helps operators to complete high-pressure and safety-critical tasks and to secure efficiency in the control room processes. Key for the success of these research activities is the close cooperation between research teams and the product management organisations within the Frequentis business units. With the goal to define our product portfolio for the future, product development naturally needs to collaborate closely with research mainly targeting the medium and long-term perspective.

Over the last years, customers have faced various challenges resulting from rapid developments in IT technology, such as virtualisation of solutions, deployment in cloud environments, new operational concepts, and security threats. Frequentis’ products tackle these aspects through adaptations in new releases with agile development cycles.

News

GOF U-space

SESAR U-space demonstrations: Safe drone traffic integration in the Gulf of Finland (GOF)

The SESAR Joint Undertaking GOF U-space project in Estonia and Finland demonstrates that Europe is on course with its implementation of U-space, an initiative that aims to ensure safe and secure drone traffic management. The project not only accelerates the realisation of manned and unmanned mobility in the lower airspace, taking into account the rapid growth in the use of drones, but also showcases the progress towards reaching the objective of a unified European airspace.

claudiaj.bacco@frequentis.com | 2018-10-29

Technologieminister Norbert Hofer gratuliert FREQUENTIS zum EU-Auftrag für die Mitwirkung bei groß angelegten Drohnentests

Im Rahmen eines Firmenbesuches bei der Frequentis AG in Wien konnte sich Technologie- und Infrastrukturminister Norbert Hofer von der Innovationskraft der österreichischen High-Tech Schmiede überzeugen. Frequentis-Eigentümer Hannes Bardach ließ es sich nicht nehmen, den Herrn Bundesminister zu den laufenden Innovationsvorhaben sowie Projekten zu informieren.

 

claudiaj.bacco@frequentis.com | 2018-10-12

Control Room Consulting

The ideal control room is a Joint Cognitive System that combines humans and machines in a balanced way to execute specific tasks. Our aim is to ensure that systems support their human operators in making safe decisions that support the mission goals of the control room.

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Frequentis Control Room Consulting – serving a purpose

The ideal control room is a Joint Cognitive System that combines humans and machines in a balanced way to execute specific tasks. Our aim is to ensure that systems support their human operators in making safe decisions that support the mission goals of the control room.

Understanding is key! Every safety-critical control room has three pillars – surveillance, workflow support, and communications – which are our corner stones for advanced situational awareness, informed decision-making, and optimised workflow-driven communications. Rather than starting from a system-centric view, Frequentis works to understand each customer’s business processes and then follows lean management principles to map them to information streams and enhance them. Frequentis uses evidence-based tools to prove that systems are fit for purpose and provide the best possible support for processes. All results can be benchmarked against best in class.

Maximised productivity, pleased users, safe technology

Inspired by kaizen principles from manufacturing, Frequentis Control Room Consulting targets zero defects and higher productivity for customers – meaning safe and efficient working practices. All projects are delivered using the Frequentis aware® toolbox, which is a set of methods, standards, and tools designed to ensure high user involvement throughout the design and development of all systems. Based on a user-centric process as described in ISO 9241, the aware toolbox also covers the entire transition phase to de-risk users´ commissioning.

Frequentis Control Room Consulting

Control Room Consulting – service portfolio

Frequentis Control Room Consulting offers a comprehensive service portfolio including interaction design, control room design, and prototyping to visualise the requirements. Our human- and business-centric approach reduces project risk and costs by supporting users throughout the transition to new systems and working practices.

Frequentis Control Room Consulting

Learn more about Control Room Consulting on YouTube.

SESAR

By the end of 2016, SESAR 1 delivered more than 60 technological and operational solutions, thus contributing to an enhanced European ATM infrastructure. As a Member of the SJU, Frequentis actively participated in more than 30 projects. Important achievements of SESAR 1 include prototype work for remote tower, iCWP evaluation and demonstrations, data models for AIM, MET and Airport, and a significant development in the field of D-NOTAM.

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SESAR – participating in one of the biggest global technology ATM programmes

By the end of 2016, SESAR 1 delivered more than 60 technological and operational solutions, thus contributing to an enhanced European ATM infrastructure. As a Member of the SJU, Frequentis actively participated in more than 30 projects. Important achievements of SESAR 1 include prototype work for remote tower, iCWP evaluation and demonstrations, data models for AIM, MET and Airport, and a significant development in the field of D-NOTAM.

The goal towards a Single European Sky is now further pursued within the programme SESAR 2020. Together with the Hungarian ANSP, HungaroControl, and the French IT service provider, Atos, Frequentis works on a total of 10 projects (WAVE 1) as part of the consortium "Frequentis SESAR Partners (FSP)". The FSP consortium sets to enhance cross-industry innovation through integrating different stakeholders in the ATM value chain. In partnership and cooperation with the many other SESAR 2020 members we address the following key topics: remote virtual towers, virtual centres, voice and data communications including SWIM, future communications infrastructure (FCI) and information management.

We see major trends in the areas of improved automation, new algorithms, virtualisation of ATC services as well as improving regional and global interoperability. The FSP consortium’s key development targets comprise:

  • In towers and airports, the team will create the next generation Tower HMI, featuring a future surveillance and flight information display (post-EFS) and advanced safety-nets. The commitment to research in remote towers continues by leading the evolution to multi-remote tower capabilities – a project started already in SESAR 1. In addition, there is work being conducted to improve visual surveillance and adding alternative surveillance solutions.
  • Virtual centre operation is another big work activity: By shaping the operational concept definition for virtual centres a common, harmonised understanding of the concept of operations is ensured. The common data centre services and the provision of voice services through a common services model are essential enablers to make the virtual centre a reality. With a virtual centre operation, all of the tower and centre platforms will be embracing an independent working position concept and are integrated and interconnected using SWIM and SOA principles, especially the integration of voice and communication services is something very innovative here.
  • In the field of voice and data communication, Frequentis is working on the implementation of geographically independent voice communications, the terrestrial air/ground (A/G) datalink as part of the future communication infrastructure (FCI) as well as ATM-grade networking. Aeronautical data and mapping services will support 4D trajectory management, SWIM will evolve further to cover A/G functionality and the improved integration of military stakeholders as well as the evolution of SWIM data, information and service models.

Above all, Frequentis pursues a joint approach to various validations with consortium and SESAR partners.

Standards

Standardisation is an important means of innovation. First, because it provides structured methods and reliable data that save time in the innovation process, and second, because it makes it easier to disseminate ground-breaking ideas and knowledge about leading edge techniques. Thus, standardisation is also indispensable for building customer trust in products, services and systems.

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We set standards!

Standardisation is an important means of innovation. First, because it provides structured methods and reliable data that save time in the innovation process, and second, because it makes it easier to disseminate ground-breaking ideas and knowledge about leading edge techniques. Thus, standardisation is also indispensable for building customer trust in products, services and systems.

With its capacity for innovation and technical expertise, Frequentis seeks to actively participate in the development of standards and regulatory measures. The company has always placed special emphasis on developing its expertise in setting standards in safety-critical markets. However, “setting standards” is not just seen as a powerful driver in development; it gives customers the security of knowing that they are investing in a future-oriented system.

Our experts are engaged in standardisation bodies covering all industries in which the company operates. Just to mention a few examples:

  • EUROCAE Working Groups 67: work on the reference architecture for a globally harmonised standard for VoIP-based voice communication.
  • National Emergency Number Association (NENA): For many years, participation in the NG911 initiative in the United States.
  • The ETSI Rail Telecommunications committee is engaged with GSM-R, covering GSM standardisation as it relates to railway and private mobile radio (PMR).

Standards bring safe investments for our customers!

Cyber Security

Providers of safety critical services are facing severe challenges when they want to implement measures to defend themselves against the rapidly growing IT security threats. There are several reasons for that.

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Cyber security for safety critical services and vital infrastructures

Providers of safety critical services are facing severe challenges when they want to implement measures to defend themselves against the rapidly growing IT security threats. There are several reasons for that:

  • Best practises for cyber security in many cases are contradicting best practises for system safety. One example is the practise to implement software security patches in a timely manner after vulnerabilities get published, which is contradicting the safety best practise of keeping a thoroughly tested and documented system unchanged until a new formally verified and documented release is installed.
  • Technical systems often have a lifetime of 15 or even 20 years, containing components which were developed long ago and don’t support software hardening well. Other measures must be found to make the system acceptably secure.
  • Security is not a static property of a technical system, it is a quality, which must be managed day-by-day with a focus on systems, processes and staff. For safety-relevant services the handling of exceptions adds additional challenges: Often, “fail safe” contradicts “fail secure”.

The demand for solutions to integrate security concepts into safety defines one of the research focus of Frequentis together with its end-user partners, research partners and industry partners. It comprises: integrated safety & security system architectures and design patterns, hardware based solutions for the separation of security zones, encryption of critical real-time media streams (such as voice, video, sensor data) and hardening of system components.

In addition to the providers of safety relevant services, organisations responsible for national cyber crisis management and cyber defence are getting new, overarching responsibilities on a national level by new legal provisions. They are responsible for defending the vital infrastructures and for managing crisis situations in case of an attack with severe consequences.

As control room vendor for many different domains in the physical world, Frequentis is transforming its experience now into the cyber space. Together with selected customers, specialised research and industry partners, the company focus is on research of solutions for national cyber crisis management and defence, covering overarching situational awareness, decision support and incident management for the protection of vital infrastructures. With that agenda we contribute to the EU H2020 Project SATIE that focuses on cyber security and physical security at airports.

Crisis and Disaster Management

The key idea of crisis and disaster management research is to meet the challenge of supporting customers in those situations, where standard business procedures fail.

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Crisis and Disaster Management

The key idea of crisis and disaster management research is to meet the challenge of supporting customers in those situations, where standard business procedures fail.

Imagine the following scenarios:

  • After an ice storm, public safety answering points are flooded with emergency calls, additional emergency resources are required and relief organisations need to collaborate on an operational, tactical and strategic level. Decision making is done in various locations and on different levels of management. Crisis staff organisations are put in place to cope with the complexity.
  • A civilian airplane entering the European airspace is not responding on radio. The comparison of the actual flight track with the planned route shows a significant deviation. At the same time, an important political summit is taking place within 25 minutes flying time. Interceptors are dispatched for reconnaissance to assess the situation, since the civilian airliner may have been hijacked to be used as weapon. Different organisations need to work together on the ground to provide the necessary information base for the decision making: civilian air traffic management, police, armed forces, and other authorities providing information about possible targets on the ground.

It is situations like these which demand leadership capabilities at an extremely high level. Leadership is a human quality – and it can be supported by technology. So, which concrete capabilities are behind leadership in such demanding situations? And how can technology support it?

 

Specific leadership capabilities – the starting point for our research

  • The capability to have a clear understanding of the situation including all relevant pieces of information
  • The capability to make sustainable decisions by considering all options and their consequences
  • The capability to direct the operations in an effective way by steering and monitoring all relevant actions
  • The capability to communicate any time in a secure way with all relevant units, also across organisations
  • The capability to collaborate (including cross-organisation collaboration) based on a common understanding of the situation
  • The capability of being mobile to provide all required communication and information functionality for distributed organisations and dynamically changing communication infrastructures

Technology building blocks support humans to bring their capabilities to full effect in complex and demanding situations of crisis. Examples of such technology building blocks are: information sharing infrastructures for professional, safety-critical services; situational awareness solutions; decision support systems; communications interoperability solutions. They define the research goals for the research projects in this area. All of them are collaborative endeavours: We are working together with professional end-users and research partners.

Drones

Drones are creating new opportunities. However, they are also a source of new threat scenarios. Frequentis is developing a range of drone management and drone detection solutions to integrate them safely and legally into the airspace.

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Drone Management

Drones are proliferating throughout the world’s airspace, making them impossible to ignore. As their numbers rise, the importance of finding a way for them to safely coexist with manned aircraft is growing increasingly urgent. To ensure the current high level of flight safety and security, the aviation stakeholders are taking steps to implement a Flight Information Management System (FIMS) to integrate the management of drones or referred as UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) with ATM (Air Traffic Management).

MosaiX SWIM is a digital data exchange platform, which support data validation, data mediation between legacy and SWIM data models (AIXM, FIXM, IWXXM), data fusion between the different information domains (i.e. flight plans and surveillance data), and up to date display of all information (airspace, flight plans weather, surveillance). It brings together all the stakeholders in the ecosystem with a focus on data accuracy, integrity, consistency, and timeliness, all while remaining a future-proof and open platform with a very low vendor lock-in.

Drone Detection, Incident Handling and Counter UAV

The rapidly growing number of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) creates new challenges for the safety of air traffic. Uncooperative UAVs (i.e. rogue drones) cause major disruption at airports and airbases, they are used to smuggle goods across borders or to spy on governmental authorities. They can pose a threat to critical infrastructure, events, and sovereignty of countries. Recent incidents have spotlighted the urgent need for a comprehensive solution to deal with this threat.

The Frequentis drone detection solution creates an effective response to the threat and differentiates to other solutions in the market by providing full situational awareness, minimising resolution time, and enabling cross-agency collaboration. The solution is based on MosaiX SWIM digital data platform and Frequentis` incident and crisis management system (ICM).  

MosaiX SWIM improves interoperability with existing infrastructures and allows to create a comprehensive situational picture by fusing all available data feeds in one digital data platform: cooperative drones, uncooperative drones (including visual observations), air traffic, and blue forces. The cross-agency incident management system (ICM) improves collaboration by sharing the situational picture with all stakeholders together with managing communications and incidents across hierarchies, operators, and locations.

The solution is an open framework which supports, integrates, and scales with sensor and effector systems available on the market.

For further information, please also have a look at our Solution Brief: 

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