Frequentis and Rheinmetall Defence have jointly developed a new, alternative method for displaying the classical “out of the window” view of the environment surrounding an airport tower. This new solution has been named “smartVISION”. Frequentis expertise in ATM (Air Traffic Management) has been successfully combined with the visual surveillance know-how of Rheinmetall Defence to provide a mature and proven product baseline for this solution.
To overcome the typical problems facing conventional cameras, such as sunlight reflections, poor contrast and bad light conditions, the smartVISION solution offers a completely new visualization approach based on advanced thermal camera technology and video-based surveillance and tracking functionality.
The system generates a full 360 degree panorama view provided by cameras that are especially sensitive to infrared light. This resulting panorama presentation covers the complete ground and terminal areas surrounding the tower and also facilitates the automatic detection and tracking of aircraft, vehicles, persons and wildlife via verification sensors (Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras). Surveillance data plus flight and other support information can be directly integrated into the panorama presentation. This significantly improves overall situation awareness and minimizes head-down time.
Trials have taken place at Dresden Airport on a test system consisting of cameras and a controller working position integrating visualization with other controller tools. DFS controllers have evaluated the capabilities of smartVISION within the context of their own Remote Tower Strategy and were very satisfied. Compared to the conventional “out of the window” tower view the infrared presentation, together with its advanced surveillance and tracking capabilities, offers distinct advantages in poor weather situations and during the night. The compact layout of the controller working position was highly appreciated and the solution shows great potential for expanded use within a multi-tower concept.