Follow the greens simulation

Traditionally, airfield lighting fixtures served only basic functional purposes, enabling airports to switch lights on and off to guide aircraft during landing and taxiing manoeuvres. However, with the addition of integrated sensors into AGL IoT devices, it is possible to collect a tremendous amount of data, not only regarding the operation of the light but also about the airside ecosystem in which it operates. Digital twins are modelled to replicate the behaviour and performance of the physical objects in real-time, using data gathered from the sensors or other sources of information.

In the latest issue of Airports International Magazine, Regardt Willer, VP business development and innovation at ADB SAFEGATE, explains how the Airside 4.0 concept will enable airports to tackle today’s problems head on. This is part two of the article. To view the full article in Issue 3 2023 you´ll need an Airports International Magazine subscription.

Sensors on the airfield

ADB SAFEGATE has incorporated specific sensors that allow airport customers to collect critical operational data, including temperature, humidity, pressure, vibration and shock, fixture alignment and proximity detection. Among the sensors integrated into the AGL IoT devices is a 3-axis magnetic field sensor, which acts like a digital compass, measuring the airfield light fixture’s position, orientation and motion. Sensor data can detect when an elevated runway light is not aligned correctly with its mounting column or has moved on the column due to external factors, such as a jet blast.

The integration of advanced sensors allows automated work orders to provide immediate warnings and alarms that reduce the need for visual inspections and improve maintenance diagnostics of the runway lights. These sensors provide vital data for Airside 4.0 analytics, which uses artificial intelligence to predict a variety of scenarios that will empower airports to take actions and make decisions related to safety, sustainability and operational efficiency.

Digital twinning
Airside 4.0 is a crucial step towards improving airport operations in a rapidly changing digital landscape, and the IoT devices represent the building blocks for an airport’s Airside 4.0 transformation. However, digitization goes beyond connectivity and sensors. It requires the creation of digital twins or virtual replicas of a physical asset. The digital twin is modelled to replicate the behavior and performance of the physical object in real-time, using data gathered from the sensors or other sources of information.

An airport’s digital twin is accessible through ADB SAFEGATE’s CORTEX Cloud, a secure location where all assets and other streaming data is collected and stored. Airports can interact with their customised dashboards on the cloud platform and visualize all their modelled digital twins to track performance. The CORTEX cloud provides advanced sensor fusion algorithms that ingest IoT data to connect the information to the digital twins, creating an intelligent airside with interconnected physical assets.

ADB SAFEGATE’S CORTEX Cloud application

Cloud application

Airside data-driven decisions through analytics
The power of the CORTEX cloud comes from its specialized data analytics techniques, such as big data processing, machine learning and data visualization, to process large volumes of complex and diverse data. The CORTEX application can extract meaningful insights, patterns and trends to help airports make data-driven decisions and optimize their airside operations.

By analyzing historical data, airports can perform diagnostic and descriptive analytics to uncover areas of their operations that need preventive maintenance or improvements. Real time or run-time analytics provide improved situational awareness and greater visibility of an airside’s current operating conditions. Additionally, within CORTEX, this particular asset-related data can be integrated with third-party data sources in order to provide an enriched foundation for decision-making. Potential third-party data may include meteorological, ecological, photometric and runway contamination factors, among others.

Read all blog articles based on the article fully published in Airports International Magazine Issue 3, 2023:

Part 1: Empowering THE airside evolution – Connectivity for better decisions

Part 2: Empowering THE airside evolution – Sensors and digital twinning

Part 3: Empowering THE airside evolution – Intelligent AiPRON and Airside 4.0

ADB SAFEGATE  is a company that provides integrated solutions to airports, airlines, and ANSPs.  We are proud to be leading the way with innovative and smart Airside 4.0 solutions that turn airports into smart airports, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the passenger experience. Solutions include airfield lighting, power and control systems, airport and tower software, docking automation, apron management, and aftermarket services.  With over 1,400 employees and over 2,700 airports in over 175 countries, from the busiest and largest to the fastest-growing airports, ADB SAFEGATE is dedicated to making air travel safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly. 

CMO & Airfield Commercial VP at ADB SAFEGATE