Hitachi Kokusai Electric Co., Ltd. (HiKE), Malaysia Airports and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) jointly launch the operation of high-precision foreign object debris detection system (FODDS) for KL International Airport (IATA Code: KUL). The launching ceremony will be officiated by the Deputy Minister of Transport Malaysia and Vice-Minister Internal Affairs and Communication Japan witnessed by government officials from both countries at KUL.
The tripartite collaborative project is part of an initiative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Japan under the industrial program led by Hitachi Kokusai Electric and few Japan’s research organization, where the title of the program is “Contract for research on promotion of international coordinated use of frequency through overseas development of linear cell radar system (runway surface foreign object detection system)”. The framework of the technical cooperation was developed to embrace the advanced aviation technology in testing the effectiveness of radio over fibre radar system through an international academic cooperation between National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Waseda University, and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, seven years ago, which later extended under industrial project collaboration with Hitachi Kokusai Electric, the system manufacturer’s and Malaysia Airports, the operator for KUL.
According to the group chief executive officer of Malaysia Airports, Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin, “In 2018, KUL recorded 60 million passenger movements and served 60 airlines. As an airport operator, safety is always a top priority for us. KUL, as the flagship airport of the country has been continuously keeping up with global practices on standard safety procedures at the airport and its surroundings. We are proud to collaborate with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Hitachi Kokusai Electric as one of the pioneer airports in implementing this cutting-edge technology from Japan. In fact, KUL is the first airport in the world to install a fully functional system for this new FODDS technology after the prototype was tested at Narita International Airport in Japan. It is indeed an important milestone for us in terms of enhancing our FOD detection system that will improve the surveillance measures of our runway as we aim to towards strengthening KUL’s position as a global hub. On top of that, this project is Malaysia’s first contribution in terms of data and technology to the International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication sector (ITU-R).”
On top of that, significant international technology transfer activity was established via industry-government-academia collaboration between Japan and Malaysia. One of the key objectives in project are to promote exchanges knowledge including human capacity development and to enhance linear cell radar technology by conducting field trial in actual airport operation which later Malaysia and Japan will recommend the outcome to international standardization organizations such as ITU-R, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
FOD is defined as, “Any object located in an inappropriate location in the airport environment that has the capacity to injure airport or airline personnel and damage aircraft”, which can cause damage to aircraft as well as injury airport employees. FOD incurred the global aviation industry $1.26 billion annually in direct costs, and $13.9 billion annually in indirect costs (e.g., flight delays, runway closure). Hence, new technologies for FOD detection system is developed to continuously inspect and detect FOD.
The FODDS system construction and installation at KUL began with preliminary experiment and system infrastructure design since February last year. First field trial experiment was performed in the UTM campus and KUL apron to show availability of small FOD detection and provide sensitivity on the antenna height in the airport surface situation. The demonstration unit consists of 96GHz radar system supported with high resolution cameras to ensure high quality images of the detected FOD to be identified. It also enables real-time data collection thus expediting the investigation process in identifying FOD sources and facilitating fast runway clearing process.
The advantages of the system include its low operational cost, low emission of radio waves and most importantly a highly scalable system for busy airports. Through more than a year field trial at Narita International Airport, the system demonstrated highly accurate and fast detection whereby it was able to detect 3cm FOD within the range of 500 meters in 10 seconds by using the millimeter wave radar over optical fiber technology. The FOD detection system can spot FOD the moment it is deposited on the runway by radar sensing, identifying, and locating at a previously unprecedented level of speed and accuracy for objects as small as an aircraft rivet. This is extremely valuable when aircraft takeoffs are only minutes apart. Finally, improved airport management by not only increases efficiency, enhances safety and improves security, but also saves airports and airlines countless hours in time, money, and manpower.
The field trial experiment facility in KUL will be world focal point and model case in Asia Pacific where aviation demands are high and airport construction plans well demanding. This FODDS will be a promising candidate to enhance security against intruders or attack drones in important facilities and to enhance safety to avoid critical incident in the airport runways.
Also present at the event were YB Dato’ Kamarudin Jaffar, Deputy Minister of Transport Malaysia; Yasuo Tawara, Director-General, Radio Department, Telecommunications Bureau Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Japan; Professor Dr Shamsul Sahibuddin, Pro-Vice Chancellor Universiti Teknologi Malaysia; Kaichiro Sakuma, President of Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc.; Tan Sri Datuk Zainun Ali, Chairman of Malaysia Airports and Professor Dr Sevia Md Idrus, FODDS Project Leader UTM.
* This news release of “ Linear Cell Radar System” is part of the outcome of ”R&D of high-precision imaging technology using 90GHz-band linear cells” and ““R&D of coordinated linear cell radar system in 90GHz-band” ”sponsored by Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan, 2013-2015, 2017-2020 respectively.