Air traffic growth in the Asia-Pacific region is one of the fastest in the world and Singapore is strategically located at the heart of the region. In order to prepare for the future, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) embarked on the Smart Tower Prototype (STP) project to evaluate the feasibility of digital tower operations at Changi International Airport.
With the intention to build the world’s most advanced aerodrome, CAAS explored leading applications of technology across different domains including air traffic management. After visiting HungaroControl’s remote tower facility, CAAS decided it should become a role model for the development. The project aimed to prototype digital tower technology as an alternative solution to a conventional tower to:
• Deliver greater extensibility by removing the need to utilise a physical tower asset;
• Enhance business continuity by supplanting visual surveillance with a high-fidelity distributed camera network;
• Future-proof tower services by adopting new innovative technologies.
The primary goal was to use the prototype to evaluate the operational feasibility of future full-scale deployment as a contingency facility and later as a possible substitute for conventional tower operations to support future developments. Recent impacts of COVID-19 further strengthened the need for a sustainable, efficient and scalable solution in tower operations.
As part of a delivery consortium, HungaroControl applied its experience in digitalising tower operations to support the concept development and design planning of CAAS’ STP at Changi International Airport.
CAAS engaged a delivery consortium led by NATS, where HungaroControl was actively involved as a subcontractor during the initial phase of the project. Leveraging our experience in delivering the world’s largest digital tower to date, we:
• Facilitated group workshops to build user ownership and facilitate adoption;
• Supported the delivery of the STP Concept of Operations, specifically defining detailed operational requirements and use-cases;
• Defined human-machine interface design requirements to be incorporated into system design;
• Supported the definition of a rigorous validation plan to facilitate operational activation and compliance with regulatory standards, including human factors evaluation planning;
• Supported the development of safety risk management processes for the design and implementation of the STP.
Under the NATS-led consortium, HungaroControl brought its extensive experience in digitalising tower operations within high-complexity environments to support concept development, design and human factors assessment. To date, CAAS is progressing through the advanced stages of STP validation.
The deliverables we contributed to support the implementation of a user-centric digital tower prototype at one of the world’s largest airport hubs. As the pandemic situation develops, even greater fluctuation in air traffic is expected. Smart solutions like remote towers will help ease operational workload and make air traffic management even safer with the power of advanced technology and innovation.