The Swedish Transport Agency will use the technology designed by the defense and security company Saab for the first ever remote air traffic control tower.
A network of airports can be controlled from a center location using Saab’s technology. It essentially consists of high quality video and sensor equipment which will be used to guide airplanes about 100 km away from a control tower located at Örnsköldsvik airport in Sweden.
How a remote tower can ensure safety and serviceability is all based on the high-tech equipment. The airport will be equipped with high definition Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras, surveillance and meteorological sensors, microphones, signal light guns and other devices. The data collected from these sensors will be relayed to the Remote Tower Center (RTC) in real time. A controller will monitor the data with the right tools available at the RTC and will operate the airport in the same manner as he/she normally does. The only difference will be 360 degree LCD installed at the remote tower instead of the 360 degree windows.
The remote tower will better manage the resources at hand and cut down the overall cost of the airport. This will also help small airports to function for a long time. However, problems can occur if the equipment at the airport malfunctions, though Saab ensures that its camera’s can cover for each other in case that happens.
Australia and Norway are also aiming to test Saab’s technology in their airports. In Sweden, this technology was tested back in 2013 and will be fully operational by autumn 2014.