Heathrow implements AI tech

Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Airport in the UK is rolling out new artificial intelligence (AI) technology that, it is hoped, will help to cut down on flight delays.

The airport has installed the technology in its control tower in an effort to help air traffic controllers more precisely track aircraft during periods when visibility has been reduced. Currently, when visibility is reduced, extra time needs to be implemented between landings, which can result in a loss of arrivals capacity of up to 20 per cent, with many attendant knock-on effects.

The trial is being overseen by Nats, an air traffic management service, and makes use of ultra high-definition 4K cameras, AI and machine learning capabilities. The cameras feed footage of aircraft into the AI system, which uses machine learning to analyse and interpret the images, track the aircraft and then give relevant information to a human controller, reducing workloads and making the process of deciding when to give landing permission smoother and more efficient.

“I am convinced that this technology can totally revolutionise how air traffic is managed at airports around the world,” said Andy Taylor, Chief Solution Officer at Nats. “It’s man and machine working in perfect harmony.”