Conflict resolution; decision making; distributed control; multiagent systems; satisficing games
Future generations of air traffic management systems may give appropriately equipped aircraft the freedom to change flight paths in real time. This would require a conflict avoidance and resolution scheme that is both decentralized and cooperative. We describe a multiagent solution to aircraft conflict resolution based on satisficing game theory. A key feature of the theory is that satisficing decision makers form their preferences by taking into consideration the preferences of others, unlike conventional game theory that models agents that maximize self-interest metrics. This makes possible situational altruism, a sophisticated form of unselfish behavior in which the preferences of another agent are accommodated provided that the other agent will actually take advantage of the sacrifice. This approach also makes possible the creation of groups in which every decision maker receives due consideration. We present simulation results from a variety of scenarios in which the aircraft are limited to constant-speed heading-change maneuvers to avoid conflicts. We show that the satisficing approach results in behavior that is attractive both in terms of safety and performance. The results underscore the applicability of satisficing game theory to multiagent problems in which self-interested participants are inclined to cooperation.
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