Aviation students design intelligent monitoring system for airport aprons

A team of aviation students designed an intelligent monitoring system for an airport's apron, the area by a terminal where aircraft are maneuvered

A team of four students from Purdue Polytechnic’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology won first place in the Airport Cooperative Research Program’s University Design Competition for Addressing Airport Needs.

Yilin Feng, Shelby K. Hobbs, Changmin Xiong and Chuyang Yang were selected as the winning team in the competition’s Airport Operation and Maintenance design challenge category. Their project was titled “Integrated Technologies to Improve Safety of Apron Operations: Apron Intelligent Monitoring and Reporting System (AIMRS).”

The project proposes a surveillance and management system for an airport’s apron, the area where aircraft are parked, unloaded or loaded, refueled or boarded. Based on existing technologies and products, AIMRS provides real-time monitoring and identification of ground vehicles, enhances identification of ground personnel and their authorized access levels, identifies potential hazards and generates safety reports. Implementing AIMRS has the potential to reduce the frequency of apron accidents or other incidents, which cost the industry $10 billion annually, the team said. The system could also lead to a decrease in turnaround time for airport terminal gates.

The students performed a cost-benefit analysis of implementing AIMRS at Central Illinois Regional Airport, a small airport with eight gates and daily scheduled service. They estimate about $581,000 in expenses with nearly $1.2 million in benefits over 10 years, a two-to-one cost-benefit ratio.

Mary E. Johnson, associate professor of aviation technology, served as faculty advisor to the team.

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