The future is in the air

Optimized transport networks in the third dimension

2024/04/01 by

Modern urban transportation will be three-dimensional in the future. Thanks to the latest drone technology, it will soon be possible to send shipments by air or transport people using so-called air cabs. However, this approach also poses new challenges that need to be overcome, first and foremost organizing the air infrastructure. This is exactly what Nikolas Hohmann is working on in his research!

To prevent traffic chaos in the air, Nikolas Hohmann is researching the optimization of air traffic networks. There are a number of conflicts of interest to consider here. For example, the provider of the transport network could be aiming for low maintenance costs (e.g. for the sensors that monitor the air corridors). Users of the transportation network, on the other hand, want the fastest possible delivery routes through the transportation network, whereas residents living nearby (similar to Frankfurt Airport) do not want to be exposed to noise.

All these interests have to be taken into account when designing the air transportation network, which is not so easy as the interests often contradict each other. In a case study, Hohmann designed and optimized an air traffic system for the city of Frankfurt.

To solve the so-called multi-criteria optimization problem, the etit scientist uses evolutionary optimization algorithms whose design is based on the theory of evolution. The result is a series of traffic networks with different structures. These include, on the one hand, networks that satisfy individual interests more strongly, i.e. very low-maintenance, fast or quiet traffic networks, and, on the other hand, trade-off solutions. The decision as to which of the networks on offer will ultimately be implemented lies in the hands of the responsible local authorities and committees.

Further information can be found on his website.

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