Explaining Aviation Safety Incidents Using Deep Temporal Multiple Instance Learning

author: Kamalika Das, NASA Ames Research Center
author: Vijay Manikandan Janakiraman, NASA
published: Nov. 23, 2018,   recorded: August 2018,   views: 1

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Although aviation accidents are rare, safety incidents occur more frequently and require a careful analysis to detect and mitigate risks in a timely manner. Analyzing safety incidents using operational data and producing event-based explanations is invaluable to airline companies as well as to governing organizations such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States. However, this task is challenging because of the complexity involved in mining multi-dimensional heterogeneous time series data, the lack of time-step-wise annotation of events in a flight, and the lack of scalable tools to perform analysis over a large number of events. In this work, we propose a precursor mining algorithm that identifies events in the multidimensional time series that are correlated with the safety incident. Precursors are valuable to systems health and safety monitoring and in explaining and forecasting safety incidents. Current methods suffer from poor scalability to high dimensional time series data and are inefficient in capturing temporal behavior. We propose an approach by combining multiple-instance learning (MIL) and deep recurrent neural networks (DRNN) to take advantage of MIL’s ability to learn using weakly supervised data and DRNN’s ability to model temporal behavior. We describe the algorithm, the data, the intuition behind taking a MIL approach, and a comparative analysis of the proposed algorithm with baseline models. We also discuss the application to a real-world aviation safety problem using data from a commercial airline company and discuss the model’s abilities and shortcomings, with some final remarks about possible deployment directions.

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