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SAFER and TIMELY FLIGHTS with Automated Foreign Object Detection System

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - A-FOD (SAFER and TIMELY FLIGHTS with Automated Foreign Object Detection System)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2018-01-31

The airport industry is a strategically important sector that makes a vital contribution to the EU's overall economy and employment by supporting 5 million jobs and contributing €300 billion to EU GDP. Despite the current economic crisis, global air transport is expected to grow by 5% annually till 2030 and airport operation companies are seeking methods to sustain FOD free runways for safer flights. Since, They generate costly breakdowns in planes, potential delays and cancellations, and eventually, also they are the cause of accidents and crashes.
A-FOD is a FOD detection and management system comprised of a set of high resolution cameras connected to a AI system that is continuously trained by machine learning to solve the FODs detection problem. A-FOD is a complete FOD-hazard management system that allows airport maintenance teams to detect the smallest objects in any weather condition and also: 1) sends alerts to the operators; 2) provides live close-ups for a rapid visual verification without stopping the air traffic; 3) uses laser pointers and GPS to facilitate the removal and minimize its impact on the airport operation; 4) keeps records, in compliance with international regulations.
A-FOD is successfully tested in an airport used for amateur flights and a demo will be done at one of busies airport of Turkey at May’17. Airports will gain high advantages by being able to -decrease delay time by %90-reduce required repair cost of FOD hazards-realize significant cost savings-gaining more satisfied customers.
The main objective of A-FOD project is to minimise and solve the problems caused by FOD in airports.
With an affordable solution that integrates AI functionalities and an integrated FOD management system, we aim to gain a leading position on the EU market until 2023. This project A-FOD will directly create 82.50M€ revenues, 59,47M€ profit, and 116 new jobs by the end of 2023.
During 6 months we have evaluated A-FOD technical, commercial and financial viability, and further developed our business plan. The most relevant outcomes from this study are:
- The technical tasks needed to upgrade our technology to the new A-FOD prototype have been identified. Communication, dissemination and exploitation activities that will help us to bring our product to the market have been defined as well as the management team. A total amount of 2.31M€ is required.
- Our initial target segments will be Airports in Europe and Turkey. Two different business lines have been defined according to the particularities of each market.
- The Freedom to Operate of our solution has been guaranteed. After performing a deep analysis of the patents related to our technology, we can assure that currently there is no conflict with other solutions.
- Costs associated to the prototyping as well as to series production have been adjusted. Sales forecasts have been updated based on market availability and the price policy has been defined with the input of the industry. We estimate that by the end of 2023, A-FOD will be responsible for 116 new direct jobs. Due to a more conservative sales forecast and an expected general increase on ArgosAI activities, the numbers are lower than the previous estimations. However, the reduction of production costs has significantly increased the ROI (5.22 versus 0.81).
As a conclusion, we have found that A-FOD project is viable from a technical and economical point of view. It will have a positive impact in our company, our customers and the society. Therefore, we have decided to continue with A-FOD project and we will apply to the European Commission for a Phase 2 funding.
A-FOD is designed for detecting potentially hazardous FOD’s accurately and faster, it increases air safety and highly reduces the costs caused by FOD’s with more affordable costs. Thus, A-FOD has a variety of to address the needs of the market. The strength advantages of our system are;
* Scans all area of the runway 7/24
* Analyses the images in real time without any interruption
* Using advanced artificial intelligence, foreign objects are detected and an alarm is generated to warn the air traffic control center
* With its simple interface, it enables the relevant airport staff to examine the foreign object remotely in detail using the provided location information,
* After the confirmation of the staff’s decision for FOD removal, it points the object by a laser marker
* The data about the detections are saved in the database and statistical analyses are performed to create useful information about how the FOD are formed in the runway.
* That creates a solid input for airport FOD management process.