It seems as though NASA's focus as of late has been solely geared towards Mars and the efforts to get there. However the space agency recently made an announcement that hits a little closer to home. NASA has developed software to help reduce fuel consumption, carbon emissions and even cut travel times in commercial airlines. The newly introduced technology is loaded onto a tablet and won't require any major change to the already established aviation roles of pilots and ground crew meaning the technology can be implemented right away. It works by reading the planes current position in conjunction with its flight path and then looks for an alternate route that can save both time and money.
Called TAP (Traffic Aware Planner), the app is used to make traffic aware strategic aircrew requests, or "TASAR's."
"TAP connects directly to the aircraft avionics information hub on the aircraft," said David Wing who is the TASAR project lead. Set to be used by Virgin America and Alaska Airlines over the next three years, TAP also connects to the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) which scans nearby air traffic to assure that there are no conflicts of newly proposed flight paths. For aircraft with an Internet connection, TAP can also access real time information such as live weather conditions and wind forecast updates that will work to further increase flight efficacy.
"Up until now there has been no way to deliver comprehensive wind and congestion data to pilots in near-real time. It is a 'super app' that will give our pilots better visibility to what's happening now versus three hours earlier when the flight plan was prepared." claimed Tom Kemp, Alaska Airlines' vice president of operations in Seattle, Washington.