Page 41 - ATC Special Bulletin Series - Remote and Digital Towers 2023-01
P. 41

| REMOTE & DIGITAL TOWERS | That’s not easy as air traffic grows. If an airport wants to expand its runways, for example, they’re faced with the need to monitor those runways, ensuring line of sight and proper safety assurance. That’s not only an added CAPEX cost in the potential construction of a new tower, but in OPEX too, with the need to populate those towers with additional staff. Monitoring expanding operations while seeking to reduce costs – do you see the challenge? In a world where space for these kinds of CAPEX and OPEX costs is increasingly limited – both financially and spatially – air traffic control must reinvent itself. REMOTE AND VIRTUAL TOWERS – A BURGEONING TREND, BUT JUST A PART OF THE SOLUTION One trending solution to the future of air control towers is the ‘remote’ air control tower. A concept that embraces the potential of our digital transformation to optimise operations and make them more cost-efficient. Remote towers can be established quickly and at less cost compared to traditional towers – while also using less space. Alongside these CAPEX savings, they introduce an entirely new way of operating air traffic control – providing potential OPEX efficiencies too. The predominant operating concepts of the remote tower are ‘single mode’ or ‘multiple mode’. Single being when one digital tower provides ATM services to one aerodrome – that could have one or more runways. And multiple mode of operation being the provision of ATM to two or more aerodromes simultaneously, from one digital tower. Without the need to man a physical tower (or multiple), CAPEX and OPEX costs can be saved. All of which goes a long way to addressing some of the key concerns of airports about the future of their physical assets today. The added hook is that these towers and their control centres can theoretically sit ‘remotely’ anywhere in the world - monitoring the air traffic of one, or many, runways. The use of video walls and technology with video stitching offer enhancements beyond the human eye too: visual overlays of information, additional cameras to cover areas of operational significance or blind spots, visual tracking and radar data overlaid or augmented onto displays. 41 | 

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