ASW Technology offers infrared sensors for air traffic control applications at airports as an alternative to radar-based solutions.
The company’s sensors provide additional safety at runway and taxiway entry points on occasions when there is high traffic density, or poor visibility, which can contribute to unauthorised runway and taxiway incursions.
Infrared sensors for runway incursion detection
ASW Technology provides runway protection area (RPA) incursion detectors as an alternative to inductive loop technology at any airport, large or small.
Runway incursion detectors can be installed on the shoulders of taxiways (both sides) at a measured distance from the runway edge. This avoids significant installation and maintenance costs incurred by the implementation of inductive loop systems, as well as minimising the impact on operations during the installation phase.
In addition to monitoring runway entry points and taxiways, ASW Technology’s barrier system creates a runway protection area (RPA) for category I, II and III configurations for instrument landing system (ILS) approaches.
The barrier system features dualised quad-beam infrared outdoor sensors. There are four beams per barrier, which are connected using ‘and logic’ gates to prevent false alarms. They are positioned approximately 1m above ground to avoid false alarms triggered by small animals.
Passing aircraft and vehicles are monitored to provide details of their direction and speed together with precise time stamp information to ground movement control (GMC).
This capability offers an additional safety net and is of particular interest to airports considering the introduction of remote tower operations, where either surface movement radar (SMR), surface movement guidance and control system (SMGCS) or advanced SMGCS (A-SMGCS) systems are not available.
Instant runway intrusion alert systems
ASW Technology sensors trigger an audible and visual alarm for controllers when the infrared beams are violated.
Alarms can be delivered to a standalone human-machine interface (HMI) or A-SMGCS surveillance monitors using ‘all-purpose structured Eurocontrol surveillance information exchange’ (ASTERIX) data transmission.
Optionally, the system can provide an instant alarm for pilots. When the sensors are triggered and controllers receive the alarm through a HMI, an instant visual or audible alarm can be sent to the flight deck through the audio function of the enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS).
Runway vacated detection sensors
ASW Technology barriers can be used to determine if a runway has been vacated to minimise occupancy times for optimal capacity.
The runway vacated application of the system allows controllers to detect if an aircraft or vehicle has cleared the runway edge. This solution can be used at high-density airports to increase runway capacity.
The time required for the runway to be reported as cleared is significantly reduced with the infrared sensor system providing precise, instantaneous reports contributing to enhanced operational effectiveness.
Reduced visibility airport traffic management
ASW Technology’s Virtual Block system is suitable for the management of apron and taxiway traffic at airports that are not equipped with SMR or SMGCS.
Virtual Block can be used to manage traffic flow safely by reducing taxiway congestion during periods of reduced visibility that may otherwise cause the suspension of normal operations. The system will enable an increased tempo of operations by providing GMC with a capability to ‘stack’ aircraft on the taxiway and maintain a safe interval between successive aircraft instead of operating a single aircraft on a taxiway at any one time.
The solution ensures that a boxed safety area with the dimensions of a standard parking stand is maintained between aircraft using the apron and taxiways. Infrared sensors are installed on the taxiway shoulders and other suitable surfaces to provide the required surveillance coverage.
Apron and taxiway unauthorised access monitoring systems
ASW Technology sensors can be used for monitoring restricted areas within the airport boundary. The sensor can detect unauthorised vehicles, aircraft or people, entering such areas.
The detector is suitable for taxiways or runways that are closed during construction, sending information to air traffic control or airport security.
GroundPlug anchoring, fitted to the sensors, allows the system to be easily repositioned or removed during construction projects.
Instrument landing system intrusion and blind spot detectors
ASW Technology’s Critical Area Intrusion Detector is designed to assist airport operations staff in safeguarding ILS structures during routine checks. Staff receive an alert from the sensor and can respond quickly if unauthorised entry is detected.
The company’s Blind Spot Filler is designed to fill the gaps in coverage that other surveillance systems such as multilateration or SMR may be unable to detect. The infrared barrier sensors can monitor aircraft or vehicles entering taxiways or aprons and provide precise positioning information in ASTERIX format to support aircraft and vehicle tracking as they enter a surveillance blind spot.