NATS and Searidge announce digital tower research laboratory

NATS and Searidge Technologies are to launch a UK-based digital tower research and development programme designed to improve efficiency, weather resilience and contingency operations at the world’s busiest airports.

The programme will centre on a brand-new state-of-the-art digital tower research laboratory located at Heathrow Airport control tower.

The system will comprise of two controller positions with a newly developed, highly intuitive user interface and, for the first time ever in a digital tower, 4K day/night cameras. These, together with independent pan-tilt-zoom cameras, will be used to present a totally seamless panoramic view of the airport and surrounding airspace on an ultra-high definition video wall.

Andy Taylor, NATS Head of Customer Solutions said: “Establishing a NATS and Searidge development laboratory here in the UK, and specifically at Heathrow, means we can benefit from using all of real-time operational data as part of our work.

“By partnering with Heathrow Airport Limited, we can focus on developing digital solutions that address very specific problems, such as working in low visibility conditions or contingency operations.”

Distributed cameras around the airport will provide enhanced surveillance of hold lines to improve resilience in adverse weather conditions, while data from the airport’s Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System will be integrated with the Searidge system to offer controllers enhanced situational awareness via customised data overlays.

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