Collins Aerospace, Thailand air services provider Aerothai, and China’s Aviation Data Communication Corporation (ADCC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that aims to improve safety and efficiency at busy airports in the Asia-Pacific.

The collaboration will move beyond air-to-ground communications to focus on the airport tarmac, where aircraft interact with countless other vehicles and systems.

A presentation prior to the MOU signing showed how various communications protocols such as Bluetooth, LoRa (a low-power wide area network technology), and ADS-B can be fused to precisely monitor vehicles, aircraft and other assets moving around an airport.

Such a system can reduce the chance of damage or injury, and also help increase efficiency through data analytics. Collins already collaborates with Aerothai and ADCC with its GlobalConnect digital air-to-ground services platform.

“This initiative will increase collaboration in the research and commercialisation of solutions that improve operational safety and efficiency,” says ADCC vice president Zhu Yanbo.

“Under this MOU, the three parties will work closely and approach prospective customers to identify and explore tarmac related opportunities to jointly produce the best strategies by which tarmac solutions can be effectivity implemented.”

The partners’ focus will be the region’s airports and airlines.

“On the tarmac there is so much to be done,” says Clotilde Enel-Réhel, general manager of commercial aviation & network services and avionics at Collins.

“The airlines are facing so many problems on the ground, accidents in particular. “

In addition to safety, the analysis of data produced by day-to-day tarmac movements can inform actions that lead to improved efficiency and enhanced capacity.

“The primary goal of this partnership is to address the airports in the Asia-Pacific,” adds Enel-Réhel. “Because of the challenges airports face with the growing number of aircraft, our focus on Asia makes the most sense. This is the kind of project where we break the boundaries between airlines, handlers, airports, and air traffic control…this is the really the goal the partnership.”