Driving an airfield vehicle on the airport should be straightforward in normal operational conditions. But how do you ensure you are following the correct route when in dense fog, or at night, or when an unforeseen event occurs? And more importantly, how do you ensure that you are not entering a safety critical area without a clearance, putting you and the other mobiles’ safety at risk?
Busy airports monitor airfield activity using a range of sensors and tracking systems. This information can also be used by vehicle drivers to improve safety. By fitting a screen in the vehicle, the driver can access an airport moving map, can see information regarding surrounding traffic, and can receive alerts if a dangerous situation arises. Warnings can include those related to possible collisions with an aircraft on a runway or taxiway, infringements of a runway, or a closed or restricted area.
SESAR has carried out a series of validation exercises in different locations in various traffic and visibility conditions. Alerts were generated either by an on-board system on the dashboard, or were uplinked from the ground aerodrome surveillance system enhanced with a dedicated function calculating alert situations relevant for vehicle drivers.
The trials developed the requirements for the display of information related to the surrounding traffic, including aircraft and vehicles operating on or near an active runway. The tests also established connectivity between the central system and vehicle, as well as the use of mobile devices.
· Increased situational awareness
· Increased safety on and around the runway