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Now arriving: airport control towers with no humans inside
Published in 14-9-2015
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The dozen commercial planes landing there each day are instead watched by cameras, guided in by controllers viewing the video at another airport 90 miles away. There is a lot of good camera technology that can do things that the human eye can't, says Pat Urbanek, of Searidge Technologies, We understand that video is not real life, out the window. Cameras spread out around an airport eliminate blind spots and give controllers more-detailed views. Infrared can supplement images in rain, fog or snow and other cameras can include thermal sensors to see if animals stray onto the runway at the last second. [...] an 80-foot tall mast housing 14 high-definition cameras sends the signal back to the controllers, stationed at Sunvsal Airport. "Without the sound, the air traffic controllers felt very lost," says Anders Carp, head of traffic management for Saab. Niclas Gustavsson, head of commercial development for LFV Group, the air navigation operator at 26 Swedish airports, says digital cameras offer numerous possibilities for improving safety. Saab is currently testing and seeking regulatory approval for remote systems in Norway and Australia and has contracts to develop the technology for another Swedish airport and two in Ireland. A regional air traffic control center clears private jets into the airspace and then pilots use an established radio frequency to negotiate the landing and takeoff order.