Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Airport safety: magnetic fingerprinting in the fog?

28.01.2008
By monitoring tiny fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field caused by a passing plane, a team of European researchers has developed an innovative system to increase airport safety even in the worst weather conditions.

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
Most importantly, the system, developed under the EU-funded Ismael project, has some unique advantages over the most common ground-based monitoring systems in use today.

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
The project partners – a mixture of academia and technology firms – have, therefore, approached big equipment manufacturers already supplying the airport market for assistance.

“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
In fact, the technology need not be confined to runways and docking bays alone.
“During the course of the project, we saw the potential to use this system in crowded airport parking lots to monitor car traffic and let drivers know where unoccupied spaces are available,” Gao says.

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
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/id/89466

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville

nachricht New standard helps optical trackers follow moving objects precisely
23.11.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>