NASA has awarded a one-year research contract to Sensis to develop advanced conflict detection and resolution algorithms to reduce the potential for runway incursions at airports in the future.

When completed, the algorithms will be integrated into surface simulation platforms used by NASA to research and develop new and improved safety aids for airports.

Sensis currently builds the Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model X (ASDE-X) conflict detection and resolution system that is in operation at 32 airports in the US. The final three airports in programme will have the system operating by mid-2011, says Sensis.

ASDE-X, which fuses radar, multi-lateration and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) inputs, provides controllers with automatic visual and audible warnings of potential incursions.

Sensis says the new algorithms will address "a number of incursion scenarios" not incorporated into today's conflict detection and resolution capabilities, including runway/taxiway intersections, encroachments by aircraft or vehicles into active runways, merging and following aircraft and departure queues.

"Algorithms will reflect uncertainties in surveillance data, navigational errors, variation in pilot and controller behavior, off-nominal conditions and mixed aircraft equipage to provide complex conflict resolutions to the controller and appropriately equipped aircraft," says Sensis.

Resolution advisories will factor-in other aircraft and vehicle activity on the airport surface in order to "minimally impact surface efficiency", the company adds.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news