New fog-vision cameras to help decrease flight delays

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

ANKARA – Turkish scientists have invented new smart infrared cameras capable of seeing through fog, which could help planes to land safely.

In the US alone, delays and cancellations from all causes cost passengers $16.7 billion a year; weather accounts for more than 40 percent of all flight delays, according to US Department of Transportation (DOT) statistics.

Therefore the price tag for weather-related schedule disruptions is at around $6.7 billion annually, just in the US.

Acknowledging fog has a significant part in weather-related schedule disruptions, scientists from Turkey’s three prominent universities, Bilkent, METU and Gazi, have designed the smart infrared cameras which can operate at infrared wavelengths (which cannot be seen by human eyes), effectively resolving the problem of cancelled flights due to dense fogs.

New generation cameras, which are capable of clearly seeing up to 15 kilometers even from behind the cockpit glass, have been developed by scientists from universities in Turkey.

Dr. Ekmel Ozbay, head of Bilkent University Nanotechnology Research Center (NANOTAM), said that these ‘smart infrared cameras’ could be used in many areas such as defense, security, health and transport sectors.

“Since the cameras we developed can operate behind glass, they could be mounted within a cockpit and they will increase the airworthiness (security of flight) thanks to their capability of seeing the light beacons on the landing field. So airplanes will be able to make safe landing/take off easily.”

Ozbay added that this technology could also be used to seek and rescue operations in cases of fires those give thick smoke which block rescue teams to operate.

Prof. Dr. Tayfun Akin, head of METU Micro Elektro Mechanic Systems (MEMS) Research and Development Center, said "Contrary to standard infrared cameras, with our cameras vehicle plates can be read at night."

Pointing out that the new cameras would increase the performance of security cameras substantially, Akin said: "Normal infrared detectors cannot identify human face. This technology is able to recognize faces easily."

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