A methodology for quantitative and cooperative decision making of air mobility operational solutions
Salmon, John LaNay
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Many complex and interdependent systems engineering challenges involve more than one stakeholder or decision maker. These challenges, such as the definition and acquisition of future air mobility systems, are often found in situations where resources are finite, objectives are conflicting, constraints are restricting, and uncertainty in future outcomes prevail. Air mobility operational models which simulate fleet wide behavior effects over time, in various mission scenarios, and potentially over the entire design life-cycle, are always multi-dimensional, cover a large decision space, and require significant time to generate sufficient solutions to adequately describe the design space. This challenge is coupled with the fact that, in these highly integrated solutions or acquisitions, multiple stakeholders or decision makers are required to cooperate and reach agreement in selecting or defining the requirements for the design or solution and in its costly and lengthy implementation. However, since values, attitudes, and experiences are different for each decision maker, reaching consensus across the multiple criteria with different preferences and objectives is often a slow and highly convoluted process. In response to these common deficiencies and to provide quantitative analyses, this research investigates and proposes solutions to two challenges: 1) increase the speed at which operational solutions and associated requirements are generated and explored, and 2) systematize the group decision-making process, to both accelerate and improve decision making in these large operational problems requiring cooperation. The development of the Air Mobility Operations Design (AirMOD) model is proposed to address the first challenge by implementing and leveraging surrogate models of airlift capability across a wide scenario space. In addressing the second major challenge, the proposed Multi-Agent Consensus Reaching on the Objective Space (MACRO) methodology introduces a process to reduce the feasible decision space, by identifying regions of high probability of consensus reaching, using preference distributions, power relationships, and game-theoretic techniques. In a case study, the MACRO methodology is demonstrated on a large air mobility solution space generated by AirMOD to illustrate plausibility of the overall approach. AirMOD and MACRO offer considerable advantages over current methods to better define the operational design space and improve group decision-making processes requiring cooperation, respectively.