Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Unmanned airport control towers

An Airport in Ornskildsvik, Sweden has been credited with the first unmanned air traffic control tower.  The Airport is doing this through a series of cameras that are set up around the airfield. The person who is in charge of controlling the camera feeds is sitting roughly 90 miles away from the airport.
This article mentions many great benefits that this new system of unmanned air traffic control towers will be offering. One area where this system improves airports is with safety of the aircrafts.  The human eye can only see so much. This new system is equipment with thermal sensors, and infrared vision. This makes seeing at night or in poor weather conditions bearable. These cameras are also capable of seeing if there are animals or other obstructions on the runways.  These cameras also save the airports huge sums of money. With further investigation I found out that the average air traffic controller gets paid an average of $120,000 annually. These cameras save the airport hundreds of thousands of dollars, which then could be used in other parts of the budget. These cameras are also great for smaller airports that don’t even have an air traffic control tower to begin with. Instead of pouring money into employees and a huge tower to construct, smaller airports can just set up this video fed and have some one 90 miles away monitor it.
I thought that this article overlooked a couple of items. One of which was the camera system it self. How secure is this system? If the cameras were to be hacked, it would cause major trouble especially because there no one is physically there to take action. Another concern would be if the airports lost power causing the cameras to lose feed. This causes problems for the pilots not knowing if they are clear to land. Lastly what happens if there is a lag or delay in the camera feed and the person sitting behind the camera 90 miles doesn’t see it in time. This could cause big disaster.
With more time and fixes to the system I think that this new way of air traffic control could take the place of the system that we are using today.



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