Runway Safe Passage Solution Takes Off At Taoyuan International Airport

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A video surveillance system recently installed at Taoyuan International Airport, presents a sophisticated solution for a common airport problem that could prevent accidents occurring at airports all around the world.

Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan is ranked 11th busiest worldwide in terms of international passenger numbers and fifth busiest when it comes to international freight traffic.  As airport traffic increased, it became clear to the Airport Authority that action had to be taken to avoid a potential accident occurring where aircraft and vehicles were sharing one passageway.

With limited scope for erecting warning signs and structural limitations, the Airport Authority turned to the latest video surveillance technology to provide an effective solution to the challenge of ensuring that employees and passengers lives are not put at risk.

The Runway Safe Passage video surveillance system was designed to create an alert for drivers of passenger buses, luggage transport and supply vehicles if they are in danger of entering a runaway crossing point when an aeroplane is taking off or has just landed.  

The system, installed by integration specialists AGNI Systems Ltd, takes advantage of VCA’s video analytics engine to accurately detect the presence of an aeroplane and trigger traffic lights to flash red to warn drivers of the immediate danger.  And reflecting the importance of the system, if the drivers do not follow the guide of the traffic lights, they will be fined.

A spokesperson for AGNI Systems Ltd said: “It is a common airport problem that airplanes and vehicles can be ‘fighting’ over one passageway, and this can easily cause an accident.  At Taouyuan, the additional issue is due to strict regulations and construction limitations, the additional hardware required to solve the problem would have required a re-arrangement of flights, which was understandably deemed unacceptable by the Airport Authority.

“The decision was made to explore the option of video analysis interlocked through camera images and we immediately turned to our partner, VCA to provide a solution whereby objects on the runway can be seen through camera videos.  As airplanes have priority on the passageway, if one is landing or passing through, the traffic lights are instantly controlled on the drive way and flash to red to warn drivers to stop, avoiding any nasty accidents.  The system has also been calibrated against different scenarios to minimise the number of false alarms.”

Working with the latest thermal imaging technology to minimise false alarms and enable the system to work effectively 24/7 regardless of the lighting conditions, VCA’s video analytics has been configured to ignore aeroplanes that are in the air.

“Airports across the world are getting busier with both freight and passenger traffic and whilst we are all aware of the need for accurate air traffic control it appears that ground traffic control is becoming more critical,” said Kevin Waterhouse, Executive Vice President, Global Sales for VCA. “Drivers of course are fully aware of the risk of an accident but there is always the possibility of a break in concentration and particularly so at the end of a shift when they may be tired. The Runway Safe Passage Solution created for Taoyuan International Airport, which can be set up to generate reports of persistent problems at specific zones throughout the airport, has proven to be a safety measure that could potentially save lives.”