The Swedish Transport Agency has given a go ahead to the Swedish air navigation service to fully commission the world’s first remote air-traffic control tower.
Designed by defence and security company Saab, the Remote Tower, essentially a mobile unit packed with cameras and sensors, has been tested at the Örnsköldsvik airport in Sweden since 2013. Following the Swedish Transport Agency’s approval, the technology will be fully operational by autumn 2014, allowing controllers to manage landings and take-offs at the regional airport remotely from a new control centre in Sundsvall, about one hundred kilometres away.
"Remote Tower makes it possible to have a network of airports operated from one location and we can see a great deal of interest from many parts of the world,” said Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO of Saab. “I look forward to seeing what Saab's technology can do for travellers."
The technology is designed to improve safety and serviceability at small, low traffic airports. It relies on High Definition and Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras, surveillance and meteorological sensors, microphones, signal light guns and other devices, which are deployed at the airport. Data from these sensors are gathered and sent in real time to the Remote Tower Center (RTC). A controller at the RTC has the tools, in addition to live video, to operate the airport in a similar manner as he or she would be in a traditional Air Traffic Control Tower.
Saab worked on the project together with the Swedish air navigation service provider, LFV. During the work’s progress, the team found out that some of today's air traffic control towers are no longer optimally positioned. In such cases, the Remote Tower system can enable controllers to see areas of the airport without having to construct a new traditional tower. The camera unit can be positioned where it has the best overview and it can even be moved easily if needed.