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New Laser-Based Runway Safety System Receives US Patent

Can Detect FOD, Prevent Runway Incursions

An innovative, new automated technology using optical lasers designed to prevent airport runway incursion and detect debris received a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office this week.

Representatives with Runway Technologies tell ANN the idea for this technology is simple: optical lasers, installed around the perimeter of the runway, will constantly monitor the runway for incursion, debris, and other potentially hazardous objects. If detection occurs, that information is provided to the aircraft, air traffic controller, and/or ground -based personnel prior to aircraft landing and takeoff, thus providing time for corrective action.

The system is designed to provide situational awareness and direct safety warnings to those most able to take immediate action such as the pilot, controller, vehicle operator and ground personnel.

“The genesis for this idea came after the Concorde crash tragedy in France in 2000," said company founder Byron Derringer. The Concorde crashed on takeoff after a small strip of metal, which came from a tire off a Continental Airlines jet, ruptured the SST’s fuel tank.

Runway Technologies’ system monitors the runway surface for just such debris. The optical lasers can be customized to detect debris at various heights and ranges.

Another component of the system, the “object characterizer,” can recognize, analyze, and understand what is seen, and in turn, report that information so corrective action can be taken.

While commercial aircraft spend only six percent of their flight time in takeoff, climb, final approach, and landing, this period accounts for 70 percent of hull loss accidents according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Foreign objects and debris alone have a $4 billion global price tag according to the National Aerospace FOD Prevention, Inc. This patented technology, combining method and apparatus to detect both runway incursion and debris, will help reduce both minor and catastrophic runway events.

“Ultimately, my goal is to further protect what is important to everyone -- our loved ones who travel the skies," said Derringer.



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