Two aviation innovators are combining technologies to revolutionise both sides of airport ground operations: at the gate, and on the aircraft. Working together under a recently concluded memorandum of understanding, the companies’ respective systems will greatly enhance safety and throughput at airport gates.

The Safedock advanced visual docking guidance system (A-VDGS) from ADB SAFEGATE automates the task of safe docking at gates and stands, guiding aircraft with a highly accurate 3D laser scanning technique and an intuitive LED display.  The WheelTug e-taxi system uses electric motors in the aircraft nose wheel.  In conjunction with the WheelTug Vision camera/sensor system, pilots can manoeuvre forward and in reverse without needing tow tugs or generating jet blast.

WheelTug and ADB SAFEGATE complement each other very well by making it easier for airlines to operate precisely and expediently in increasingly crowded ramp areas, removing time-consuming procedures and failure points while improving the safety levels all parties expect.

“The collaboration with WheelTug is an important milestone in implementing our apron management strategy,” said Thorben Burghardt, vice-president, Gate, ADB SAFEGATE.  “ADB SAFEGATE is applying intelligent integration and automation to bridge the siloes of different airport systems.  Digitalizing and automating the apron requires all stakeholders to collaborate closely to deliver lower costs, higher efficiency and safety, as well as happier passengers.  WheelTug is a key partner in our apron management ecosystem.”

Sixty years ago, standard single-aisle aircraft could park parallel to terminal gates, with passengers using two jet bridges to board or deplane via both the front and aft doors.  The practice has long been abandoned as jet thrust became too powerful, and nose-in parking became the norm to avoid jet blast incidents in the gate area.  Together, WheelTug and ADB SAFEGATE offer the accuracy and safety needed to return this time-saving procedure to airlines and airports.  Safedock A-VDGS technology will be a critical component of the WheelTug Guide docking system.

The two companies will jointly present their solutions later this month at the WheelTug TestDrive 2020 event held at Memphis International Airport (Tennessee, USA) on 15 September.  “We look forward to showing aviation community members worldwide how they can operate more quickly, efficiently, and safely.  We are pleased to announce this partnership and have ADB SAFEGATE team members join us in Memphis to demonstrate how WheelTug-equipped aircraft will interact seamlessly with gate-side technology,” said WheelTug CEO Isaiah Cox.