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Sun, Mar 05, 2006

Embry-Riddle, Partners Propose R&D Role for DAB

A resolution to support a proposal led by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University that would develop Daytona Beach International Airport into a model prototype of the operationally integrated airport of the future was unanimously passed by the Volusia County Council at its regularly scheduled session in DeLand Thursday. In addition to the airport, Embry-Riddle’s industry partners in the Teaching Airport Advanced Integrated Technology Project are Lockheed Martin, Transtech Airport Solutions Inc., ENSCO Inc., and Mosaic ATM.

“These multinational aerospace organizations would have a real-world operational airport where they could showcase new products and methodologies – including those that are security related – to other airports, airlines, and their government customers,” says John Metzner, vice president of External Relations at Embry-Riddle. He added that these organizations could serve as anchor tenants in the research technology park that Embry-Riddle is planning to build adjacent to the airport.

The partners are hoping to win an initial federal government grant of $7.5 million toward the estimated $30 million investment for the project, which will also be funded by industry contributions. In the integrated airport concept, existing and emerging technologies are combined to create a seamless system in which aircraft, airlines, the airport, and the FAA share a unified information repository and alert mechanism to enhance safety, security, and efficiency in all areas.

The system proposed for the Daytona Beach airport would employ several kinds of technology: highly refined local area weather prediction; an advanced infrared Doppler radar system that detects and tracks wind hazards and aircraft wake vortices; a millimeter wave sensor that uses a mini-radar network to detect aircraft, ground vehicles, debris, and wildlife; an optical identification sensor that reads aircraft tail numbers to aid aircraft location; and realistic three-dimensional graphical displays that create “virtual camera” effects. The software that integrates all the electronically collected information provides some of the truly innovative aspects of this proposal.

“Not only will this system ensure complete situational awareness and control of all aspects of airport operations,” says Embry-Riddle’s Metzner, “it can also assist in the development of new ways to reduce noise and emissions through new computer-aided airport surface management, approach, and departure procedures that can save time and fuel. The opportunities are endless with a system of this scope.”

FMI: www.erau.edu


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