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A Low-Altitude Flight Conflict Detection Algorithm Based on a Multilevel Grid Spatiotemporal Index

College of Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Beijing Institute of Big Data Research, Beijing 100871, China
Heilongjiang Institute of Geography Information Engineering, Harbin 150081, China
Institute of Remote Sensing and GIS, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Faculty of Geosciences and Environmental Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu 611756, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8(6), 289;
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 11 June 2019 / Accepted: 15 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Grid Systems)
PDF [4740 KB, uploaded 26 June 2019]


Flight conflict detection is fundamental to flight dispatch, trajectory planning, and flight safety control. An ever-increasing aircraft population and higher speeds, particularly the emergence of hypersonic/supersonic aircrafts, are challenging the timeliness and accuracy of flight conflict detection. Traditional trajectory conflict detection algorithms rely on traversing multivariate equations of every two trajectories, in order to yield the conflict result and involve extensive computation and high algorithmic complexity; these algorithms are often unable to provide the flight conflict solutions required quickly enough. In this paper, we present a novel, low-altitude flight conflict detection algorithm, based on the multi-level grid spatiotemporal index, that transforms the traditional trajectory-traversing multivariate conflict computation into a grid conflict state query of distributed grid databases. Essentially, this is a method of exchanging "storage space" for "computational time". First, we build the spatiotemporal subdivision and encoding model based on the airspace. The model describes the geometries of the trajectories, low-altitude obstacles, or dangerous fields and identifies the grid with grid codes. Next, we design a database table structure of the grid and create a grid database. Finally, we establish a multilevel grid spatiotemporal index, design a query optimization scheme, and examine the flight conflict detection results from the grid database. Experimental verification confirms that the computation efficiency of our algorithm is one order of magnitude higher than those of traditional methods. Our algorithm can perform real-time (dynamic/static) conflict detection on both individual aircraft and aircraft flying in formation with more efficient trajectory planning and airspace utilization. View Full-Text
Keywords: multilevel grid spatiotemporal index; aircraft tracking; conflict detection multilevel grid spatiotemporal index; aircraft tracking; conflict detection

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Miao, S.; Cheng, C.; Zhai, W.; Ren, F.; Zhang, B.; Li, S.; Zhang, J.; Zhang, H. A Low-Altitude Flight Conflict Detection Algorithm Based on a Multilevel Grid Spatiotemporal Index. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8, 289.

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