Airbus UTM (formerly known as Altiscope)

Through research, simulations, and industry collaboration, Airbus UTM (formerly Altiscope, an A3 by Airbus project) is building digital air traffic management solutions to enable the next age of aviation. Under the umbrella of Airbus UAM, Airbus UTM will design, develop, and build the critical infrastructure necessary to allow new aircraft, including air taxis and delivery drones, to safely enter and share the skies of our future. Not only is Airbus UTM able to leverage Airbus’ decades-long history of technological excellence in aviation, the team is also expanding on the already established relationships with the regulatory & industry organizations critical to successfully deploying a comprehensive UTM framework. These relationships and research advancements led to the development and publication of both Blueprint for the Sky and the Preliminary Community Perception Study. Airbus UTM will continue to advance the industry with continued research and simulations, while simultaneously developing its suite of products and services.

UTM Decision Making Systems Intern
Sunnyvale, CA

Airbus UTM

UTM Decision Making Systems Intern


Our Mission

Join us and build the future of aviation, changing the way people and goods move around the world.

Soon, drones will deliver packages to your doorstep, taxis will fly you around cities, and emergency medicine will be more quickly flown to accidents. Airbus UTM is building the digital traffic management to make it all possible.

We’re a diverse group of aviation enthusiasts, Bay Area startup veterans, and professionals from multiple industries who’ve come together to build the digital infrastructure for this new era of aviation. We tackle this problem as a collaborative team, teaming up with partners around the world to create the best possible outcome.

Want to help us usher in the era of flying cars? Going beyond developing software, hardware, and aircraft, we aim to build a unifying vision and suite of projects that bridge the many efforts out there to a single collaborative future. By being both a fast-moving iterative team and a leading innovator in aerospace, Airbus UTM’s goal is to leave a lasting impact by revolutionizing how objects, information, and people move in a new autonomous dimension.


By its nature, UTM is a complex composition of many systems which may form a hierarchy. Each of these systems may have some decision making power that could affect others. One set of examples is outlined below:

  • A delivery vehicle may have an on board collision avoidance system that guides how it traverses an airspace
  • A UTM service provider could have a pre-flight plan optimizer which tries to deconflict a flight plan with the plans of other vehicles
  • A UTM system manager could have in-flight rerouting capabilities which could redirect multiple vehicles simultaneously away from an unexpected airspace restriction

Each of the above may need varying degrees of verification and validation before they can be certified for use. An important part of the validation process is identifying the failure modes of the system, which can be done through stress testing. One novel approach to this is what is known as adaptive stress testing [1] which attempts to discover the failure modes of a system when given access to the simulator of the system. The concept has been successfully applied to testing systems like aircraft collision avoidance [2] and autonomous cars [3], and can be extended to other safety-critical system like those present in UTM.

This project will focus on exploring the viability of using adaptive stress testing in the UTM V&V process. The effort will help guide the larger Verification and Validation of systems effort at Airbus UTM. The project will support a single graduate student intern over the course of the 2019 summer. The student will work remotely.

The goal of this project is to develop methodology for stress testing decision making systems in the context of UTM. Specifically, this project will focus on developing algorithms for discovering failure modes and identifying statistical measures that capture the concept in UTM. The project will explore how adaptive stress testing can be applied to UTM decision making components. The deliverables for the project are as follows:

  1. A document that summarizes the capabilities of adaptive stress testing in UTM and how it could be used in verification and validation processes. This could be used as a technical guide to drive some parts of the V&V efforts in Airbus UTM
  2. A prototype of a standalone adaptive stress testing implementation that could be used to test sub-systems of a UTM
  3. A roadmap for future work that would also indicate the viability of using adaptive stress testing in UTM as a V&V tool

Bonus: Begin writing a conference paper.

The intern will have access to the Airbus UTM simulator prototype which implements pre-flight planning (a STOMP trajectory optimization variant) and collision avoidance (ACAS variant) algorithms in a multi-vehicle airspace simulation. One possible trajectory for the work is to use adaptive stress testing for validating hierarchies of decision making systems. For example, the stress testing can be done on the pre-flight planning and collision avoidance systems individually and in combination to determine how the failure modes differ. Overall, it will be up to the intern to dictate the direction of the work. The intern will have support from an Airbus UTM System Engineer in the form of weekly meetings. Additional resources may also be available if necessary.

The following is a rough 9 week timeline for the project broken down to a week-by-week basis.  

  1. Weeks 1-2: Literature review and project viability. Determine what is feasible in the allocated time period both from an implementation and delivery standpoint.
  2. Week 3: Simulation prototype ramp-up. Become familiar with the prototype and determine how adaptive stress testing integration could work.
  3. Weeks 4-5: Implement the skeleton for the framework. This includes building interfaces to the simulator, building analysis tools that capture the relevant metrics and creating a baseline approach for stress testing (could be something trivially simple at first like a grid search)
  4. Weeks 6-8: Incorporate more complex and adaptive algorithms into the framework.  

Week 9: Wrap-up and summary document writing.

Come fly with us!

Airbus UTM is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace celebrating unique talents, backgrounds, and differences. We’re dedicated to building a healthy and sustainable culture, while solving big problems that really matter.

Why Airbus UTM?

  • Airbus UTM is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace celebrating unique talents, backgrounds, and differences.
  • We are dedicated to building a healthy and sustainable culture, while solving big problems that really matter.
  • We are located in Sunnyvale, CA and a very short walk from the Sunnyvale CalTrain Station. 

All job offers at A³ are contingent upon the candidate passing an export control check.