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Automated FODetect Solution Help Enhance Seattle-Tacoma Airport Runway Safety

By Juliet Van Wagenen | September 24, 2014
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The XSight FODetect system
The XSight FODetect system. Photo:

[Avionics Today 09-24-2014] Safety at airport runways could be improved with an advanced automated Foreign Object Debris (FOD) detection system that quickly detects foreign objects and wildlife hazards between aircraft movements. Leidos, a national security, health and engineering solutions company, was awarded a prime contract by the Port of Seattle to provide implementation services for a comprehensive FOD detection system at the Seattle-Tacoma airport.
The system's capabilities are based on a hybrid radar-optical sensing technology that uses radar algorithms, image processing software, and close range detection to automatically and continuously scan operational areas and monitor runway conditions during day and night for FOD, wildlife and equipment status. The system automatically separates birds from other FOD types, and then automatically alerts the airport’s wildlife team and also alerts operators, characterizes objects, assists with safe clean up and allows incident tracking.

Varec, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, will serve as the prime contractor and Xsight Systems will be the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) provider of the FODetect Solution. Varec, together with Xsight Systems, will provide installation design assistance, software and implementation services for installation, configuration, interface development, reporting and training.

This implementation of an automated FOD detection system at Seattle-Tacoma airport will be the second, fully operational automated FOD detection system that has been installed in a U.S. airport.

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