The use of Slew-to-Cue PTZ cameras integrated with avian radar for aviation safety at airports

The use of Slew-to-Cue PTZ cameras integrated with avian radar for aviation safety at airports

Sara A. Handrigan
Senior Avian Analyst
Accipiter Radar Corporation
40 Centre Drive, Suite 300
Orchard Park, New York 14127 USA
(716) 508-4432

Tim J. Nohara
President and CEO
Accipiter Radar Technologies Inc.
576 Highway 20 W
Fenwick, Ontario L0S 1C0 Canada
Phone: (905) 228-6888

Abstract: Cameras allow airport operations to visually monitor and record footage of critical safety areas from a central remote location but are limited in their field of view, range, and resolution. To get complete camera coverage, multiple cameras would normally be required. If a camera is not positioned or configured optimally, when an incident happens it is possible that no useful footage is captured. For real-time operations, airport staff are often required to continuously monitor video feeds live. When reviewing historical camera footage, it can be time consuming for staff to identify clips of interest and training is required to ensure important footage is not missed and is captured consistently.  Technology can now automatically position and configure a camera in a strategic way depending on environmental and situational conditions, increasing the likelihood that the footage will be useful. Video clips can be automatically tagged and saved to make reviewing and storing useful footage more efficient. Airport operations can specify which objects or situations are most important to prioritize where a PTZ (pan tilt zoom) camera is aimed. The camera can automatically slew-to-cue birds detected by avian radar. To understand and manage wildlife risk at an airport, an airport biologist can remotely scan the aerodrome using a PTZ camera to assist with risk assessments. 
Avian radar track characteristics such as size (i.e., radar cross section), speed, flight behavior, and location allow trained wildlife staff to estimate the species associated with the radar track, but there are typically too many similarities between and within different species for reliable species identification using radar alone. Slew-to-cue PTZ optical and thermal camera integration with avian radar can allow wildlife staff to automatically, and remotely, review a potential hazard indicated by avian radar. This increases the chance of identifying the bird that was tracked, helping wildlife managers make informed decisions on how to deal with a particular wildlife hazard. When operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year this technology also serves as a means of automated data collection. Example clips recorded at multiple sites including a North American commercial airport will demonstrate how PTZ slew-to-cue camera works with avian radar to increase awareness of wildlife hazards. 

Sara A. Handrigan

Sara Handrigan is a senior avian analyst with Accipiter Radar Technologies. Since 2016, she has supported Accipiter’s customers by helping them understand and operationalize avian radar and information systems to address wildlife management concerns. She received her BSc (Hons) in animal behavior from Western University where her thesis and subsequent publication involved the study of bird migration and range expansion. Her current research interests are in radar ornithology, and the application of avian radar as a tool for wildlife management. She has worked for various government, non-government, and private organizations in the field of wildlife management, conservation, and habitat restoration. She volunteers her time for several conservation organizations by assisting with species surveys, bird banding and tagging, public outreach, research initiatives, and habitat restoration.

Tim J. Nohara

Dr. Tim Nohara is the President and CEO of Accipiter Radar, pioneers of affordable avian radars now in use at civil and military airports around the world to help aviation stakeholders reduce the risk of bird strikes. He received a Bachelor, Masters and Ph.D in Electrical & Computer Engineering from McMaster University in 1985, 1987 and 1991 respectively. He is a licensed professional engineer and a senior member of the IEEE. He is the author of a number of peer-reviewed technical publications and patents on avian radar.

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