Gatwick Airport introduces artificial technology into runway operations

posted on 12th September 2019 by William Hayes
Gatwick Airport introduces artificial technology into runway operations

Gatwick Airport has become the world’s first airport to use artificial technology (AI) on the apron, in a bid to reduce delays and improve on-time performance.

The AI computer vision technology, provided by AI software firm Assaia, uses computer vision cameras pointing downwards on the apron to detect events that make up an aircraft turn process, such as aircraft on stand, jet bridge connected, doors open, fuelling started, catering truck connected or push back tug connected.

“AI, in this case computer vision coupled with machine learning, was conceived as a tool to understand natural world and ultimately optimise highly complex systems,” said Abhi Chacko, Head of Innovation, Gatwick Airport Limited.

“Airside operations are a great example of such a complex system. Considering the likely growth in air traffic coming our way, the earlier we start using AI to improve our operations, the more successful we will be as an airport.”

More than 10 stakeholders are usually required to act in synchrony to turn an aircraft around on stand, usually across multiple organisations which need to work together to optimise the process.

Unbiased and accurate measurements are a key part of optimisation and this would be automatically carried out by computer vision technology.

“Our entire team is extremely happy to observe that our system generates accurate event data over a broad range of different light and weather conditions,” said Max Diez, CEO, Assaia International Inc.

“Thanks to the extensive tests we could conduct at Gatwick, we were able to prove that AI-powered perception is in fact ready for production use.”