Using magnetic field detectors, a team of researchers, led by Uwe Hartmann and Haibin Gao of Saarland University in Germany, has developed a unique system to pinpoint the location of aircraft at airports even in places where other traffic monitoring systems face difficulties.
Their novel approach, tested at airports in Frankfurt and Saarbruecken in Germany and in Thessaloniki in Greece, relies on an array of small, cheap sensors monitoring the “magnetic fingerprint” of planes – the slight influence aircrafts’ metallic bodies have on the Earth’s magnetic field.
“Our tests have shown that the system detects all passing aircraft, 100 percent of them, and in 75 percent of cases can pinpoint their location to within 7.5 metres – a level of accuracy comparable to most existing air traffic management systems,” Gao says.Seeing around buildings and through fog
Because it relies on detecting changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, the Ismael system can see through obstacles, such as buildings and the fingers of airliner parking bays – structures that create potentially dangerous areas of shadow for radar systems, particularly at large, sprawling airports.
And, unlike cameras or human air traffic controllers, it can monitor planes even in the heaviest downpour or the thickest fog.
“Thessaloniki airport has a major problem with fog, so bad in fact that it has to close for part of the year because air traffic controllers can’t see the aircraft at the end of the runway two kilometres away. In the tests, the Ismael system showed it can solve that problem,” Gao explains.
The project manager says that, in all the trials, the system lived up to the researchers’ expectations, and it has continued to prove its worth in Frankfurt where it is still operating on an experimental basis. The system has also elicited interest from other airport authorities around the world, although it is likely to be several years before it is used commercially.
“You have to use the best components, the best materials and get new equipment certified for use in an airport environment. That all makes sense from a safety point of view, but it also means that it takes seven years, on average, for a newly developed system to be installed,” Gao says.Seeking partners and investors
“We are looking for a partnership and investment to take this forward and, so far, there has been a fair amount of interest,” the project manager says.
Even though the certification process is likely to push up costs, Gao assures that the Ismael system will remain a cost-effective way to complement and improve existing traffic management systems at big airports, and to install a comprehensive monitoring system at small airports that may otherwise not be able to afford it.
The sensor units, which are currently about the same size as a PC graphics card, but could be as small as a coin in the future, are expected to cost several hundred euros each. Although an airport could monitor the whole length of its runways with them, possibly by installing them conveniently beneath the runway lights, only a few located at the entry and exit gates to the runways, and in other key areas, would be sufficient to boost safety.From runways to car parks
And because systems used in parking lots do not have to meet the same high safety and reliability standards demanded of airport systems, the Ismael technology could start being used in that context much sooner.
Christian Nielsen | alfa
New software speeds origami structure designs
12.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology
Seeing the next dimension of computer chips
11.10.2017 | Osaka University
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences