Aircraft Collision Warning System for Towing or Pushback Operations

Technology Overview

This technology offer is a collision warning system deployed during towing or pushback operations for an aircraft. The system is used to detect and warn of impending collisions between the aircraft and surrounding obstacles. Towing or pushback of aircraft involves deployment of safety personnel to look out for any obstacles such as buildings, trees and lampposts. Failure to keep clear of obstacles can result in damage to the aircraft and injury to personnel. Communication between the tow vehicle driver and the safety personnel using verbal and visual cues may at times be challenging due to weather, fatique or noise from other aircraft. This warning system is able to directly alert the tow vehicle driver of impending collisions via a monitor display, thus allowing him to take timely action for preventive measures. It also allows the reduction of safety personnel required to guide the tow vehicle driver.

Technology Features & Specifications

The collision warning system provides both visual and audio warning signals to the tow vehicle driver when the aircraft is in close proximity to any physical structures (i.e., less than 15 feet). These signals enable the driver to take necessary action to avoid the obstacles. The system consists of a display unit with a portable WiFi access point, placed at the driver location, and 2 sets of proximity sensor units, each attached to one wing of the aircraft. The proximity sensors are designed to cover a 180 degree horizontal field of view for each wing. This detection coverage zone extends to the aircraft tail portion as well. The sensor units are self-powered and communicates to the display unit via WiFi. The system can be customized for various aircraft types.

Potential Applications

Automated collision detection and warning for towing and pushback operations for aircraft.

Market Trends and Opportunities

According to AviationPros, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) estimates that ground damage in business aviation amounts to $100 million annually, including incidents during towing and ramp movement, ground support equipment (GSE) accidents and hangar damage. This system can help in reducing man-made errors during aircraft towing or pushback operations.

Customer Benefits

Using this automated detection system allows for the reduction of safety personnel used to guide the aircraft without compromising safety, thereby improving manpower allocation efficiency. 

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