SINGAPORE: A smart digital tower which allows air traffic controllers to guide take-offs and landings remotely, without having to see the planes, will soon be tested at Changi Airport.
The S$7 million trial by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) will evaluate the operational feasibility and robustness of such a smart digital tower to determine its suitability for a busy airport like Changi, CAAS said in a news release on Tuesday (Nov 21).
It added that such a tower "equipped with a range of assistive functionalities and features" could enhance air traffic management and safety of runway and ground operations, and increase operational efficiencies at the airport.
UK-based air traffic management service provider NATS, which manages air traffic control at London's Heathrow Airport, has been awarded the contract to build the smart tower.
This includes the set-up of multiple fixed-position cameras to feed live video images onto a large video wall.
"This will provide a similar view to what air traffic controllers currently see from a physical control tower," CAAS said.
The trial, which is expected to start next year, will employ advanced camera and video stitching technologies, thus enabling better display of information. For instance, the video cameras can automatically pan, tilt, and zoom, to enable a closer look at objects or areas of interest.
CAAS director-general Kevin Shum said: “In concert with Singapore’s Smart Nation drive, we are leveraging digital technology to transform the aviation industry in Singapore in many different ways."
CAAS said it will work with NATS to develop the operational procedures and processes required to deploy the smart digital tower for Changi Airport.
The tender for the smart digital tower prototype was launched on Feb 28 and attracted three bids. The bids were evaluated based on a set of criteria, including technical expertise, company track record, and price competitiveness.