A live demonstration at Casablanca’s Mohammed V airport of tracking a service vehicle using the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) showed how better location precision could be used to improve safety in the civil aviation sectorImproving the precision of tracking ground traffic with EGNOS, a satellite-based augmentation system, can help reduce the risk of accidents due to human error and increase efficiency.
The demonstration by the METIS project on 22 October 2009 in Morocco used a test section of the airport’s apron area near Terminal 1. Funded by EuropeAid, a directorate-general of the European Commission, the project is managed in the context of the European EGNOS programme.
A service van known as a “Follow Me” vehicle was outfitted with an EGNOS-enabled GPS navigator and sent its position via a wireless network to a ground supervision station in the control tower. As the van travelled along the test area, its route was tracked in real-time on a digital map of the airport displayed on the station’s screen using specially adapted software. The driver could also see his position on the GPS device.
When the van travelled into a designated restricted zone in the test area an alarm sounded alerting both the driver and the control tower operator of the intrusion. The operator then ordered the driver by radio to exit the restricted area. When the van left the area, the alarm stopped sounding.
The demonstration showed how EGNOS could play a part in the guidance and control of ground traffic at airports, said Antonella Di Fazio, the project coordinator for METIS and part of Italy-based Telespazio’s research and development unit.
While other tracking technologies use GPS, the added value of EGNOS derives from its suitability for applications requiring an accurate and guaranteed position, such as the monitoring of vehicles in airport areas. Vehicle drivers in the airside operational areas of an airport account for up to 30% of reported runway incursions according to recent surveys.