Simulations – Using Nature as a Guide

Ever wondered how crows managed to choose just the right moment to fly away when you drive towards them? No matter how tasty the carrion or how unaware they seem to be, the probability is, while you may (momentarily) close your eyes and grip the wheel in panic, the bird escapes your grill unscathed.

The same wonder of nature is seen in the work of beehives. Without any meetings, conference calls or threatening emails, bees have a natural order that allows them to scout, forage and produce effectively. These in-built, biological orders have, of course, not gone unnoticed by scientists and researchers, that have used them to create simulations that have a number of uses, not least in the aviation industry.

Using this intelligence allows us to build models that include a population of individual elements and that have interactions that are natural and realistic. So whether it is a group of scout bees combing an environment for food, or aircraft, tug trains and other traffic negotiating an apron, the same rules can be applied to predict movement. In our case, this allows us to demonstrate to our clients the effectiveness of a particular design, or the limits of capacity in any given situation.

This intelligence is also useful to predict individual reactions. For example, when driving, your brain creates a two second gap with the car in front of you to allow for your reaction. This gives you a fighting chance in case of a sudden stop or someone unexpectedly pulling out from a junction, and this adjusts depending on road conditions, weather and so on. Obviously, this is not infallible, but it is a useful guide for creating the intelligence of simulations. Crows, Magpies and other birds that feast on roadkill have proven to be useful when testing this theory – as you will have noticed, they often know exactly the right moment to fly away from oncoming traffic. They calculate the speed and risk in a few seconds, which allows them to make the right decision.

Using the research and models created from these observations from the natural world, has allowed us to create our bespoke simulation modelling tool, Transvision AiR. With this tool, we develop simulations that accurately model all processes, passenger and baggage flows throughout airports, integrating an up-to-date database with assumptions, rules and actual data. This includes data on flight schedules, airlines, handlers, vehicles, passenger and more.

How passengers move through airports, how tug trains interact with aircraft, how baggage systems cope with extremely busy periods – all of these rules and assumptions are put against proposed designs for new terminals, airports and more to accurately predict how efficient the design will be. It also helps us plan capacity, and release unrealised capacity where possible.

This unique 2D modelling software allows us to visualise change whilst testing the functionality and performance of new or existing concepts, which is of great benefit to our clients. Instead of picking one design out of tens, or even hundreds, on blind faith, we can show our clients which ones will work. Not only that, we can help them avoid unnecessary investment and maximise inbound and outbound performance.

What to find out more? Read about Transvision AiR or contact us for more information