In the third part of our Innovation in GSE section of this issue, we look at Xsight’s ArcWize, which is described as an “intelligent runway monitoring system”. ArcWize automatically alerts airport operators when runway conditions change, enabling airports to comply easily with Global Reporting Format (GRF) criteria, as well as supporting real-time decision-making capability and maximising runway availability. Xsight CEO Amir Leybov tells all…
Can you tell us a little bit about Xsight Systems?
The essence of Xsight Systems is to develop solutions that provide airport operators with a reliable, real-time and accurate assessment of hazards that pose a risk to the safety and continuous operation of aircraft during take-off and landing.
In order to meet these challenges, we collect and analyse vast amounts of data from a wide variety of Xsight’s proprietary Surface Detection Units (sensors) that are capable of gathering runway information remotely.
The company was established in 2005 and our first mission was to develop a solution capable of continuously monitoring runways, day and night and in all weather conditions, to be able to detect and alert the presence of foreign object debris (FOD).
Our aim is centred on eliminating the risk of crash occurrences, such as that which befell Air France Flight 4590 on 25 July 2000, when a Concorde supersonic airplane ran over debris on the runway during take-off and consequently blew a tyre. This then sent debris flying into the underside of the left wing and into the landing gear bay. The accident resulted in the death of all 109 people on board and four people on the ground, as well as injuring others.
It was only natural for Xsight to leverage the advantages of our hybrid technology to expand our capabilities and address additional runway safety hazards such as birds and wildlife, as well as all types of runway contaminants.
The detection and removal of safety hazards are critical elements of an airport’s safety management system (SMS). These hazards dictate that an effective safety solution must be capable of performing not only the essential detection and alert functions, but also equip the operator with investigation and classification capabilities to determine the severity of the risk. The solution also needs to support real-time decision making to respond as and when required before the next aircraft moves into the affected area.
Xsight’s research and development centre is located in Israel and it also has offices in the US and in Europe.
Xsight’s solutions include FODetect™, BirdWize™, ViewWize™ and ArcWize™. All solutions can stand alone or be integrated into our RunWize™ platform, allowing for full control and visibility across airport runways.
Our customers include Beijing Daxing, Beijing Capital, Qatar Hamad, Seattle-Tacoma, Boston Logan, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airports.
How many sensors do you have currently deployed airside at airports around the world?
Xsight has already deployed more than 1,500 sensors around the world.
When did ArcWize officially go live, and does it yet have any users?
ArcWize is now officially launched, and the system’s inaugural deployment will be held at one of the leading airports in Germany as well as in Asia, in November, at the same time as the GRF becomes applicable. [New ICAO GRF – or Global Reporting Format – requirements for runway surface conditions requirements will become applicable on 4 November 2021.]
Was it designed and developed with the needs of the GRF in mind?
We were already in ongoing discussions with our customers regarding the development of more comprehensive runway safety solutions. GRF regulations just provided an additional framework to focus our efforts on. We see it as an opportunity for airports to move to more data-driven and digitalised runway operations. Thus, the system was designed to meet GRF and customers’ demand, looking beyond GRF regulations.
Can you tell us about the multi-layered technology that ArcWize uses to locate and identify objects on the runway and the AI that supports that?
ArcWize addresses runway excursion risk factors associated with runway contaminants. Its sensing solution comprises multiple sensor types to provide a full understanding of the runway surface condition status. The multi-layered sensor system continuously monitors runways, providing accurate and timely visualisation of runway surface conditions and alerts airports to any change in the surface condition. ArcWize uses new sensing and other technologies aimed at measuring contaminants on the runway.
Indeed, ArcWize’s artificial intelligence (AI) and data processing are the foundation of producing future understandings of runway conditions through unprecedented digitalisation of runway data.
How does it interact with and complement your other systems: BirdWize, ViewWize and FODetect?
ArcWize is part of [Xsight’s base platform] RunWize’s holistic approach to full control and visibility through continuous monitoring and detection of every aspect to do with safety risks on the runway.
In a similar way to the other systems incorporated within RunWize, ArcWize provides real-time alerts, leading to better awareness and supporting the operator with generation of SNOWTAM/NOTAM syntax [SNOWTAM is defined by ICAO as a special series Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), flagging up the presence of hazardous conditions due to snow, ice and the like].
Using any of our systems, the outcome is always safer and more efficient runway operations, thanks to higher runway availability and capacity.
How does ArcWize compare with other scanning and identification technology for runways that are available in the market?
There are other basic GRF technologies available; however, they do not match ArcWize’s remote sensing capabilities. They are also unable to provide the richness of data that ArcWize can: the data we provide can be used for timely decision making that helps to build more runway capacity.