In its effort to amalgamate latest technologies, Changi Airport is going to test a smart digital tower that will considerably enhance air traffic management and safety of runway and ground operations. It will allow the air traffic controllers to guide take-offs and landings remotely, without having to see the planes.
Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) will evaluate the operational feasibility and robustness of such a smart digital tower to determine its suitability for a busy airport like Changi, stated CAAS in a press release today. The digital tower is worth SGD7 million.
UK-based air traffic management service provider NATS has been awarded the contract to build the smart tower. The service provider manages air traffic control system at London’s Heathrow airport.
A smart digital tower is equipped with a range of assistive functionalities and features. It enhances air traffic management and safety of runway and ground operations, and increase operational efficiencies at the airport.
“It also includes the setup of multiple fixed-position cameras to feed live video images onto a large video wall. This will provide a similar view to what air traffic controllers (ATCOs) currently see from a physical control tower,” CAAS said.
The trial will employ advanced camera and video stitching technologies, enabling better display of information. For instance, the video cameras can automatically pan, tilt, and zoom, to enable a closer look at objects and/or areas of interest.
Kevin Shum, CAAS director-general said, “In concert with Singapore’s Smart Nation drive, we are leveraging digital technology to transform the aviation industry in Singapore in many different ways.”
He added, “We look forward to working closely with NATS to co-develop the operational procedures and processes required to deploy the smart digital tower for Changi Airport.’
The tender for the smart digital tower prototype was launched on February 28 and attracted three bids. The bids were evaluated based on a set of criteria, including technical expertise, company track record, and price competitiveness.