Researchers say video system is faster at triggering alarm than conventional sensors
A US/UK industry team is working on an aircraft on-board smoke detection system that uses video cameras designed to trigger an alarm more quickly than conventional sensors.
Used for cabin and hold surveillance, the small monochrome cameras incorporate infrared illuminators to enable software to detect the movement of smoke in the picture. UK video smoke detection specialist Intelligent Security and US security camera company AD Aerospace are testing their Smoke Vu system.
They claim that smoke can be detected faster with cameras because it does not have to come into contact with any sensor. The software can detect changes to the pixels of a static scene, such as an aircraft hold. Pixel change that reflects smoke movement through the atmosphere can be identified by the software.
Ian Moore, Intelligent Security managing director, says the company is talking to airliner manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing about video camera-based on-board smoke detection systems.
The UK company has already supplied similar systems to British Airways. These are installed in two maintenance hangars at London Heathrow airport. The system is useful for hangars because the large open space makes conventional contact sensor detection difficult. The cameras can also detect smoke coming from an aircraft parked on the outside apron.
The cameras were developed through a joint effort with nuclear power generator BNFL, for the company's large turbine halls, and tested in the former R101 airship hangar in Cardington, UK. Hangar installations for Qantas and South African Airways are pending.
ROB COPPINGER / LONDON
Source: Flight International