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Radar system to make runways safer

Germany: Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany claimed that a new innovative system to spot debris on a runway can prevent disasters like the 2000 crash of the Concorde in France that killed 113. The system consists of infrared cameras, optical 2-D and 3-D cameras, and networked radar sensors.
Helmut Essen, Fraunhofer researcher, explained, “Devices installed all along the runway continuously scan the surface. They can detect even the smallest of items, such as screws, but the system will only issue a warning if an object remains on the runway for a longer period of time. A windblown plastic bag or a bird resting briefly will not set off the alarm.”
Currently, airport workers must periodically drive up and down runways looking for such debris, a time-consuming an error-prone process. Parts often become detached from aircraft during the stresses of take-offs and landings, putting subsequent runway users at risk as was the case with the Concorde, which ran over a piece of metal, bursting a tire that sent debris into a fuel tank, causing it to catch fire.
Initial testing will begin at Cologne-Bonn airport this fall, researchers said.
Source: Space Mart