The new system could allow for better airport management, fewer delays, lower operation costs and higher safety, said
AeroMACS is being developed exclusively for communication taking place between traffic towers and aircraft when they are on the ground.
The technology is digitally based, unlike the analog radar and communications systems currently used. The difference between digital and analog is that digital produces "error-free" communication and allows for signal security through encryption. It also allows digital data to be used for countless applications to maximize traffic safety and efficiency, Kamali said.
The first wave of applications involve employing a system of sensors on airport surfaces to continuously map the location of all aircraft and vehicles. Right now, traffic control towers mostly use sight to determine the location of aircraft on runways and taxiways. Eventually, AeroMACS could allow airports to use automation, Kerczewski said.
The technology is also wireless, which is a cheaper alternative to installing fiber-optic wire beneath airport surfaces.
"Not having to place wires underground is a very lucrative reason for using AeroMACS," Kerczewski said.
The problem is that AeroMACS technology is relatively new and untested on a large scale. There are inherent limits, such as signal decay caused by the use of a high-frequency band for data transmission and communication.
The limited signal reach problem means AeroMACS base stations, which Kamali compared to cellphone towers, would have to be built close to each other to cover a large airport.
This is where Kamali comes in.
His research calls for the use of relays, or electronic repeaters, instead of more than one or two base stations, to retransmit wireless signals, so they reach the entire airport.
He presented his work at
"Everybody got excited," he said.
Kamali's work is important because if AeroMACS is adopted on a global scale and power output is not monitored, it has the potential to interfere with other communication systems like satellite networks, Kerczewski said.
The relays promoted by Kamali's research will allow for an increase in the coverage area and capacity of an AeroMACS system without exceeding power limitations that would threaten satellites.
Kamali completed much of his work at the
"The idea is to give the professors an opportunity to work with
Kamali, an Iranian immigrant who has been in
This year, AeroMACS will be tested at nine airports across the country, including in
"If it's demonstrated well at the nine airports, I think we'll have more people knocking at the door for it," he said.
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