Planes Collide on TX Runway, Finally - Now A Simple Way to Save Lives

Using AI Programs To Monitor Radio Traffic, Detect Objects, and Analyze
WASHINGTON - Oct. 26, 2023 - PRLog -- Two airplanes just collided on a runway at Houston's Hobby Airport.  This is no surprise, since potentially deadly runway incursions, some so close they are described as "skin to skin," occur almost every day at our nation's airports.

Astonishingly, the FAA reports that there were 1697 runway incursions at U.S. airports last year (up 33%), and 985 so far in 2023.  So Tuesday's collision in Texas was in one sense expected, and perhaps long overdo, with probably more in the near future.

It's very expensive and time consuming to equip "the vast majority of U.S. airports" with vital "warning systems to help prevent collisions on runways," and it would take a long time to  meet the "acute challenge" of hiring and training a sufficient number of badly needed air traffic controllers, but there's an inexpensive but effective weapon which could be tested in weeks and put into effect within months which could help overworked controllers get a handle on the problem, says Professor John Banzhaf of George Washington University.

Banzhaf is an MIT-trained engineer with 2 U.S. patents and a number of technical papers who analyzes safety problems.  Indeed, his ideas for improving the design of school buses to make them much safer for the children they carry were adopted as safety standards by the U.S. government.

His idea in a nutshell is to use already existing AI software to monitor airport radio transmissions, and to then warn controllers of possible runway incursions; eventually also possibly providing the AI computer program with input from other existing technologies including ground-based radar, digital cameras and complex target-analytics software already in use and tested in airports such as Miami's.
In summary, the professor asks whether a simple test of using AI to warn about possible runway incursions isn't warranted, especially now that so many life-threatening near crashes have occurred already just this year.   @profbanzhaf

GW Law
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