iwiation, winner of the Artificial Intelligence Aerospace Excellence Club Award on October 2022 in Toulouse.
During Excellence Club Aerospace Award ceremony on October 4th, 2022 in Toulouse, Dr Marcus BAUER Managing Director and Pedro BAUER Communications from iwiation company received the 2022 Artificial Intelligence Aerospace Excellence Club Award for their innovative project.
Mainly iwiation company supports by its competence in flight data reconstruction different international authorities such as BEA / BEAÉ (France), German Air Force, Swiss Air Force and NTSB (USA) during flight accident investigation. To further improve aviation safety, a promising new Surveillance System for small aerodromes was developed by iwiation.
Due to the fact that in Germany the obligation to have an flight controller at small aerodromes is to be abolished in 2022, the question raised how the responsibility, safety and documentation of flight operations can be guaranteed, at reasonable costs, putting aside such heavy and expensive solutions as remote tower.
A cooperation was initiated in 2021 with the aeroclub NRW e.V., Rennefeld airfield (EDKR) and iwiation. Based on iwiation’s many years of experience in the field of reconstructing flight parameters using videos, a first prototype was developed and put in operation at the Rennefeld airfield since summer 2021. One year later, additional airfields in Germany are supporting the project and have installed the system called iwiAI.
With its customer specific Artificial Intelligence database, iwiAI system visually records and classifies objects located on the airfield site, such as aircraft, cars, people (in compliance with data protection regulations), animals, etc. and documents their reconstructed GPS position with time stamp.
The system is also able to send information and alerts in real time to the aerodrome operator via a messenger service, such as alerts when in example a person or vehicle is on the runway when an aircraft is in approach.
The system processes in addition local ADSB (Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) and FLARM (Collision Flight Alarm) data to consider registered aircraft movements in the area of 80km around the aerodrome to generate alerts. The logic of those warnings is based on the ICAO standard.
In order to be able to present the system and its functions at Aero 2022, a cooperation was agreed with Friedrichshafen Airport (EDNY) in March 2022, which supports the test operation of an iwiAI system at the airport.
a – Flight Operations Assistance
Visual Object Detection & Classification
The system detects objects that are within the cameras observed area. It classifies different object categories and shows the detection in the camera image and on the map. Further the object position is calculated, providing a GPS location with actual timestamp with an update rate of 1Hz. In case the system detects a person, the marked area is pixeled to ensure data privacy.
ADSB and FLARM Detection
All aircraft that are equipped with an activate ADSB or FLARM system are detected within the surrounding airport area. The actual aircraft position, its latest flight path and altitude are illustrated on the airfield map. The data is used to document take-offs and landings.
Aerodrome Operations Report
The data collected by the system over the past 12 months is used to generate daily / monthly operational reports. For all aircraft registered at the airport, the flight time is recorded with UTC times. In addition, all other external aircraft that have landed at the airfield are documented with the registered number plate and the assigned date and UTC time. This function supports the airfield operations monitoring around the clock even when no flight controller is at the aerodrome. In addition, the report completes the local airfield activities taking into account visually recognized and classified objects. With it, landing taxes can also be sent to the relevant aircraft owners.
b – Airfield Safety
The system operates 24/7 and its operation mode is changed automatically considering current geo referenced civil twilight. The operation mode can be changed from “Normal Operation” (airfield is in normal operation) and “Airfield Closed” (in example after civil twilight to surveil the airport in protected mode).
The system architecture is a mix of cloud based and local computing processes. This allows the operator in charge to access the system information via computer or mobile devices. The system operates at all weather conditions.
Similar to a classic dashcam, the system records high-resolution individual images for the last 24 hours. These images are dated with timestamp information, encrypted and can be called up in urgent situations. This can help to clarify safety-critical situations. The recording function of single images can be stopped by the responsible operator in an emergency.
The system provides in real-time messages to the mobile phone of the aerodrome responsible. Information about approaching and departing aircraft are provided, as well as take-offs, landings and refueling activities are documented.
The aerodrome is configured with georeferenced alarm zones that are used for the iwiAI warning and alarm logic.
In example detecting a person on the runway in combination with the ADSB/FLARM information of a landing aircraft triggers an alarm. Protected areas will trigger as well alarms when persons or vehicles are entering those.
In case the airfield is closed, being in “Surveillance Mode”, any aircraft movement / landing or departure will be reported as an alarm. This shall avoid any illeagal aircraft operation when the airfield is closed.
The Excellence Club Aerospace 2022 Artificial Intelligence Award has been given to iwiation during a ceremony in Toulouse on October 2022.
The proposed iwiation system intends to improve safety at small airports with reasonable costs, using Artificial Intelligence. Due to this contribution, Excellence Club Aerospace jury, composed of aeronautical professionals, decided to select iwiation project as the 2022 winner for the category Artificial Intelligence.
Let’s assume this innovation will become a standard for general aviation airports due to its efficiency and affordability to significantly improve safety. Congratulation to the AI winning team, represented by Marcus BAUER and Pedro BAUER. Nadia Didelot for AeroMorning