ANSPs explore benefits of AI

05 November 2018
Searidge digital tower research laboratory at Heathrow Airport. Source: Searidge

Key Points

  • More air navigation service providers are assessing the potential of AI via machine-learning, especially to ease surface congestion or maintain operations in low visibility
  • Tests are under way or planned in Asia, the Middle East, and the UK

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is adopting artificial intelligence (AI) to support airspace safety and efficiency. In October 2018 the air navigation service provider (ANSP) signed a memorandum of understanding with Searidge Technologies to explore AI solutions for regional air traffic management.

Searidge is already working with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD), and UK ANSP NATS on AI projects. Its solution – known as AIMEE – is already operational at airports in the US (Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International) and Qatar (Doha International).

AIMEE can perform routine tasks, such as alerting operators to hazards in the apron area or tracking aircraft and vehicles, but its machine-learning abilities also support predictive functions. Data analytics enable AIMEE to project aircraft trajectories on the airport surface, reducing the risk of runway incursion and optimising capacity. The company has been supplying traditional video and tracking algorithms to airports around the world for the past decade. In this latest development, Searidge has developed a web-based tool that can visualise surveillance data.

“Apron areas are highly congested,” Searidge project manager Pat Urbanek told Jane’s . “We look for patterns and for anomalies in the whole movement area from approach to the gate. We are looking for 99% detection rate with minimum false activation.”

One application for AIMEE is hold-line surveillance, where AI is trained to recognise when an aircraft has vacated the runway. When the algorithm detects a clearance, the information can be relayed to the controller without having to show any video, or receive a visual check from the control tower.

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