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Ascend Avian Radar Network

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AARN (Ascend Avian Radar Network)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2020-12-31

An estimated 20.000 collisions between aircrafts and birds happened in Europe in 2019, resulting in massive costs and delays for passengers, airlines, and airports. We can remember serious accidents as the “Miracle on the Hudson” and, recently, the Ethiopian Airlines crash resulting in 157 fatalities, where U.S. aviation authorities regarded a collision with one or more birds as the most likely reason for the MCAS sensor failure that lead to the crash. In the project, AscendXYZ will mature the advanced prototype solutions developed under European Space Agency (ESA) Business Applications program into market-ready service performing radar hazard measurements of bird activity and make the information available to the relevant industry stakeholders (Airlines, Pilots, Air Navigation Service Providers and Airports). The technology will reshape bird strike prevention by facilitating a plethora of data to airlines on bird activity nearby airports – creating for the first time in the industry a network of connected systems. Participating in this pan-European and global project are some of the largest airlines and airports in the world. The expected project outcome is a reduction in the number of bird strikes, leading to a significant improvement of flight safety as well as a positive business impact for the airlines to the benefit of all industry stakeholders and passengers.
During the 1st reporting period Ascend successfully installed planned Ascend Avian radars as part of Ascend Avian Radar Network. Furthermore, Ascend made essential software development progress towards maturation of the existing Ascent platform and transformation of functional prototypes of AARN modules to final products – Ascend Cloud has been fully optimized to support AARN applications, back-end structure upgraded for multiple-site use, analysis and validation processes started.
1. Patent. Based on the work performed in the AARN project Ascend has been able to submit at patent application that describes the use of artificial intelligence radar solutions. In other words we will be able to create advanced statistical models that can predict bird activity outside the physical radar coverage of the existing radar solutions. This is done by combining multiple real-time data sources (weather, satellite images etc.) with an initial baseline measurement at the AI radar site and a real-time calibration of the AI radar model with actual radar data from a physical radar in the same geographical region. By implementing this solution on top of the AARN solution we will be able to further scale the rollout of the AARN to airports that does not fit the customer segment described in the initial proposal (due to lack of traffic) because the cost of a permanent physical radar installation is removed from the equation (The patent is pending).
2. Additional opportunity. As described in AMENDMENT Reference No AMD-880308-3 we are working on applying the bird activity measurements from both a high and low risk perspective. The initial proposal describes how we will reduce the risk of birds strikes when bird activity is high. However, if we can also identify low risk time periods airlines might be able to increase speed in departure (due to the lower probability of a collision with a bird) this has several positive effects. Firstly, by increasing departure speed limitations we can enable the airlines to fly the most economical speed and thereby reducing the amount of fuel used and subsequently reducing cost. Secondly, by reducing the fuel used we will also reduce emission of CO2. If we can support the implementation of this solution airlines will reduce cost and emission thereby creating both value and positive environmental impact.