A new research project at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany is aiming to improve airport safety with a real-time 3D surveillance system to automatically to detect debris and other objects on the airfield. The system, which was presented at the International Conference on Research in Air Transportation (ICRAT 2014) at the end of May in Turkey, uses a laser scanner supplied by Neptec Technologies that overcomes previous challenges faced by similar lidar technologies.
The research project, led by Professor Hartmut Fricke, combines 3D point cloud data with real-time algorithms to automatically detect aircraft, vehicles and pedestrians for collision avoidance, and to alert the controller to the presence of Foreign Object Debris (FOD) to mitigate damage to aircraft. Ground handling accidents, such as the collision of two aircraft during taxing, have been reported to cause millions of dollars in direct and indirect damage costs.
Dresden University used Neptec’s Opal-360 sensor because of its large, panoramic field of view, longer range options and its non-overlapping scan pattern that avoids creating ‘blind spots’ when the scanner is stationary. The obscurant-penetrating Opal technology also solves the problem of operating a lidar-based surveillance system in all types of weather such as fog, rain and dusty conditions.
‘This is another validation of our objective to make it easy to deploy intelligent 3D applications that can operate in all kinds of harsh environments and that improve the safety and productivity of our customers’ operations,’ said Mike Dunbar, director of business development for Neptec Technologies.