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WATCH: Controlling An Airport With Technology 80 Miles Away

By 2020 this London Airport will be monitored by HD cameras.

Image via YouTube

By 2020, London City Airport is aiming to… replace a team of people with 14 high-definition cameras? Yep, you read that right, technology is advancing so much, and London City space is becoming so cramped that the current dock that makes sure the flights take off and land safely is being replaced with a mast with cameras.

The catch? The technology is 80 miles away from the Airport.

Nevertheless, the images from the cameras will be observed by a real human being and monitored closely. YouTuber Tom Scott has recently made a video detailing the mast to be erected in the headquarters of the National Air Traffic Services near Swanwick. He goes to see the control room that is being used for training.  The video interviews Steve Anderson from NATS and they speak about all the potential problems and the procedures in place.

This includes:
  • If the skies are quiet, the controller can check that the feed is still live and not just a frozen image,
  • If a screen fails, the technology recognises it and transmits the failed image to a spare screen. The system then reshuffles the images into the right order. Then an engineer is free to fix the screen in between 5-10 minutes,
  • Spare cameras are situated on the surrounding housing that can replicate the view of any camera that may fail
  • The mast makes use of  compressed air machines to blow away rain,
  • There is bird protection, so they don’t interfere with the technology,
  • Also, there are heaters to prevent the cameras getting frosty or misty,
  • However, in case of an entire failure, or something unavoidable like fog, there are backup routes to monitor the airport.
  • The images from the cameras don’t go into the cloud. Therefore, this is very secure and separate from the internet.

Tom’s video sums it up, he mentions how some part of his brain just says, “this doesn’t feel right”. But after seeing the control room and hearing the confidence in the minds behind the mast, it’ll be interesting to see how this project grows.

Watch another YouTuber, Casey Neistat, try this epic aeroplane seat

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