ATOS® - Custom development with IoT modules for aviation

How we helped a local airport to become the first in Poland and one of the few in Europe go-to landing site in the case of inclement weather

Table of contents
  • The Brief / Challenges
  • Our Solution
  • Results
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Client
AP-TECH
Team Size
13 people
Project Duration
2 years
Technologies Used
Django, Python, Kafka, Flask, React
Technologies:
Services provided:

THE BRIEF / CHALLENGES

The Client

We really value long-term partnerships with our clients. ATOS® is another project we made with our partner AP-TECH, a consulting, design, and software company operating in the aviation industry.

AP-TECH carries out its R&D projects and those commissioned by industry clients. Offers a unique combination of consulting, design, and software development services for the aviation industry, especially for military assistance, emergency aviation, civil aviation, and airports.

After delivering outstanding auxiliary navigation and electronic flight bag app Clear AirSpace®, we knew we would do some more big projects together with AP-TECH.

What was the need of our Client?

The Goal - Win a Higher Certificate CAT IIIB for one of the biggest airports in Poland.

This time, one of the biggest airports in Poland needed a solution that would allow it to become the only landing spot in the area in case of inclement weather conditions. It would make all the air traffic controllers redirect all the flights and increase the revenue of the local airport.

The goal was to receive CAT III B. It is an instrument landing system used for safe aircraft landings in poor visibility during dense fog. This certificate allows pilots to land under the following conditions:

  • decision altitude under 15 meters (50 feet)
  • visibility along the runway (RVR) between 75 and 200 meters (250-660 feet)

Aviation Industry Has One Of The Highest Security Standards

Building custom software for the aviation industry is incredibly challenging as the solutions require redundancy for safety reasons. It's not enough to provide just one working system. The airport can't operate on one system and server. Each element needs a backup. You need duplicated solutions and sometimes even two or three backup systems to minimize the risk. Each hardware element - routers, switches, cables, servers clusters - all needed to be duplicated.

To get the certification, the flight controllers need to see everything at the airport, even when fog reduces the visibility to a mere five meters. For a plane to land, the airport system needs to provide all the coordinates required.

Innovative Software Instead of a Pair of Additional Radars

Until recently, the only solution for improving orientation in case of low visibility was adding a new radar device. On the downside, it was a costly option. And you need to add a pair of radars to provide the control tower with viable information. That is why with AP-TECH, we went for an innovative solution based on advanced software.

ATOS-Client-2 (1).jpg

OUR SOLUTION

Project approach

Almost two years was the implementation time of a state-of-the-art software solution for the aviation industry. Thirteen high-experienced developers built the ATOSS® - Airport Technologies Operational System - extending the usability of existing systems at the airport. It integrates data from many different sources in the airport - induction loops, transponders, etc., and assesses the availability of landing places.

The system is aware of the position of all the planes and over 400 other vehicles operating on the airport taking care of the baggage and tanking fuel. ATOS™ system provides tools to support more efficient use of available resources and supportive traffic management in the maneuvering area in low visibility conditions.

IoT modules and other functionalities we implemented in the system

Every vehicle sends us a message. To localize it we use two data sources - transponders and induction loops. It may sound straightforward, but in practice, there are several complex problems to solve.

Let us give you an easy example: what happens if a vehicle passes an induction loop and then immediately stops? The system needs to provide full security, so each time when an aircraft approaches landing, the runway is empty. The tank car collision is the leading risk, and we make sure to eliminate it.

Working with AP-TECH, we developed complex logic loops to enable solving the problems above. The flight controllers see our system and app to see which airport areas are clear at a given moment. They can see everything on a dashboard we created for the ATOSS® system. They receive information not only about the usage of each zone but also full operations data. If anything essential or unusual happens, they receive an alert.

Overcoming the Biggest Challenge

The biggest challenge in this kind of infrastructure project is that we can only test them in real conditions when there are no airport operations. Since about half of traffic this local airport traffic are transport planes, this happened very rarely, and usually between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Unfortunately, transport planes are always late in practice, so our team spent many nights at the airport waiting for an opportunity to run tests.

Partnering with Order Group proved to be a turning point for our company. They are great in terms of cost, and I was amazed by their work.
Arrow to navigate
Marcin Bondyra
AP-TECH Co-owner
Watch gallery ATOS™ - 2022 15

RESULTS

What was the result of our work?

Thanks to our team's dedication and expertise, we did it! The technical aviation goal was achieved. The airport category was lifted to CAT III B, which opened new business opportunities. The state-of-the-art system has improved safety, the ability to perform flight operations in difficult conditions, and traffic flow. It means that in case of inclement weather conditions in the region, all the flights are redirected to our client's airport.

The ATOS project and others implemented by Order Group, such as Clear Air Space, or HRESS, contributed to the big success of our Client. AP-Tech was ranked 1st among Polish companies (and 6th in Central and Eastern Europe) with a growth rate of 790% in the prestigious Deloitte Technology Fast 50 2020 ranking in the Rising Stars category. AP-TECH continues to grow, and we are happy for our customers to develop their business potential.

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