UK air navigation service NATS has illustrated the potential for enhancing London Heathrow tower controllers’ situational awareness, using tagging on a high-definition digital view of the airport.
NATS is still testing the visual overlays and use of other supplemental information in a digital laboratory located in the base of the control tower.
It has shown off views of the airport achieved with the 4K camera installations and the benefits of tagging and tracking aircraft movements.
Enhanced information such as the callsign, or a towing notification, automatically tracks alongside the aircraft as it manoeuvres around the hub.
Desktop workstations, intended to be installed in the tower, would provide controllers with greater clarity on the outside visual picture.
Controllers are able to monitor aircraft in the immediate vicinity, or those lining up at the runway 27R threshold, some 2.3km from the tower. Tags also identify distant and barely-visible airborne traffic, such as light aircraft or helicopters.