Air navigation service provider NATS has teamed up with Canadian company Searidge Technologies to roll out a UK-based digital tower research and development programme.
The new programme has been designed to improve efficiency, weather resilience and contingency operations at the busiest airports across the globe.
It will centre around a new digital tower research laboratory located at Heathrow Airport’s control tower.
The system will include two controller positions with a newly developed user interface and 4K day/night cameras.
Together with independent pan-tilt-zoom cameras, the new cameras will be used to present a panoramic view of the airport and surrounding airspace on an ultra-high definition video wall.
NATS customer solutions head Andy Taylor said: “Establishing a NATS and Searidge development laboratory here in the UK, and specifically at Heathrow, means we can benefit from using all of the real-time operational data as part of our work.
“And, by partnering with Heathrow Airport, we can focus on developing digital solutions that address very specific problems, such as working in low-visibility conditions or contingency operations.”
The cameras installed around the airport will deliver enhanced hold line surveillance to improve resilience in adverse weather conditions.
Data from the airport’s advanced surface movement guidance and control system will be integrated with the Searidge system, which will provide controllers with enhanced situational awareness through customised data overlays.
The partnership is expected to allow NATS controllers to evaluate each new development and boost the availability of technology that can then be used at airports worldwide.
In May last year, NATS acquired a 50% stake in Searidge Technologies before securing the Singapore SMART tower contract in November.