Today's airports are straining under the demands for increased capacity and high traffic throughput. This means more planes on runways but also more ground-based support vehicles, requiring ever tightening coordination of aircraft and taxiway and runway support. The EUREKA-funded project E!3142-SAFEDRIVE, coordinated by France’s M3 Systems, is using EGNOS satellite navigation signals to provide better information to vehicle drivers and better safety for flight crews and passengers.
In just a few short years, satellite positioning has become a standard and essential tool for navigating. Ship and aircraft crews, cars and trucks around the world would all be hard-pressed to revert to traditional navigation methods if GPS signals were switched off tomorrow. Europe is well on its way to establishing its own Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), called Galileo. EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is essentially Europe's ‘pre-Galileo' system, its first concrete venture into satellite navigation.
“EGNOS is the European complement to GPS," explains SAFEDRIVE project coordinator Marc Pollina. "It is an augmentation system that improves the reliability and precision of GPS positioning. This added reliability is a key requirement for people and vehicles operating in critical areas such as airports."
The SAFEDRIVE project is advancing EGNOS-based technologies and service provision by developing key components such as a new modular vehicle transponder, providing user interface, navigation and communication capabilities. In addition, an innovative ground coordination station will host vehicle management applications, including monitoring and situation preparation capabilities, interfacing with vehicle transponders via wireless UHF or Wi-Fi links, and with air traffic control and airport operators."In simple terms," says Pollina, "SAFEDRIVE transmits vehicle position to a ground coordination station and broadcasts the airport situation from the coordination station to the vehicle. This increases situation awareness of vehicle drivers and also provides vehicle location to other airport personnel."
The wireless network linking vehicles and the ground coordination station is bandwidth limited and has to deliver a real time alarm generation delay of just one second. Communication is managed via a 'dynamical slot allocation table'. The algorithm used for the table has to account for the bandwidth capability, the number of vehicles and their parameters, and the airport configuration.
The project places particular emphasis on automation and driver interface ergonomics. "Automated control is a key priority," says Pollina. "This will mean increased reliability and safety. Avoiding runway incursions by vehicles is a major technological challenge in terms of service integrity and is closely linked to driver operational interface."Larger context
"Our technology significantly advances the optimisation of ground operations at airports, which means fewer delays and better service to the flying passenger," says Pollina. In the short term, EGNOS-based applications like those envisaged under SAFEDRIVE will enable increased air traffic capacity at smaller and less equipped airports, he explains, thereby decreasing congestion at larger ones.
Specifically, the SAFEDRIVE project aims at implementing EUROCONTROL recommendations on A-MGCS (Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control Systems) for airport surface vehicles, tackling the problem of congestion in European airspace arising from the insufficient integration of Europe’s air traffic control systems.
"The potential efficiency gains for aviation are huge, including fuel savings, better use of resources such as airports and airspace, improved safety and lower costs for technologies, including infrastructure." SAFEDRIVE, says Pollina, will mean real improvements for individual airports and for sustainable European aviation as a whole, but it could also be a key element in a larger global transport system. The market prospects are stimulating.
The new technology will be affordable for mid-sized airports, says Pollina. “The European market comprises about 150 medium-sized airports alone," he explains. "However, in the future a much bigger market can be envisaged if we think globally and if we apply SAFEDRIVE concepts to other sectors such as inland waterway navigation and maritime transport."Benefiting through teamwork
Pollina says SAFEDRIVE participants have reaped real benefits thanks to the co-operative research approach. "As a company, M3 Systems now has a better understanding of user needs, thanks to our airport partners. And on the R&D side, we have had new opportunities to experiment with technologies that are not part of our core business.
“Not only are we advancing our own interests as companies and organisations in this project," he continues, "but we also contribute to the confirmation of EGNOS today and the European Galileo satellite navigation system tomorrow, major infrastructure and ultimately commercial investments being made at European level.
“Working within the EUREKA framework allowed us to bring together a range of European expertise in this area. We also like the fact that EUREKA is definitely market oriented and 'light' on administration."
Shar McKenzie | alfa
Tool helps cities to plan electric bus routes, and calculate the benefits
09.01.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Realistic training for extreme flight conditions
28.12.2016 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy