US3706969A - Airport ground aircraft automatic taxi route selecting and traffic control system - Google Patents

Airport ground aircraft automatic taxi route selecting and traffic control system Download PDF

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US3706969A
US3706969A US3706969DA US3706969A US 3706969 A US3706969 A US 3706969A US 3706969D A US3706969D A US 3706969DA US 3706969 A US3706969 A US 3706969A
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ground
traffic
runway
aircraft
computer
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Candelario Paredes
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NEW FORNEY CORP
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FORNEY ENG CO
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G5/00Traffic control systems for aircraft, e.g. air-traffic control [ATC]
    • G08G5/0004Transmission of traffic-related information to or from an aircraft
    • G08G5/0013Transmission of traffic-related information to or from an aircraft with a ground station
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G5/00Traffic control systems for aircraft, e.g. air-traffic control [ATC]
    • G08G5/0043Traffic management of multiple aircrafts from the ground
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G5/00Traffic control systems for aircraft, e.g. air-traffic control [ATC]
    • G08G5/06Traffic control systems for aircraft, e.g. air-traffic control [ATC] for control when on the ground
    • G08G5/065Navigation or guidance aids, e.g. for taxiing or rolling

Abstract

As an identified object, such as an aircraft on the ground is scheduled to cross the surface traffic network of certain areas, such as an airport, its identification and point of destination on the ground are fed to an automatic digital computerized controller comprising integrated intersection traffic control and monitoring logic units, which automatically generates a selected route from the point of origin of the object to such destination point, and by appropriate guidance displays including such identification, directs the pilot or driver of the object at each traffic intersection when safely to enter and in which direction to proceed, until the object reaches the desired destination point.

Description

United States Patent Paredes [451 Dec. 19, 1972 SYSTEM [72] inventor: Candelario Paredes, Dallas, Tex.

[73] Assignee: Forney Engineering Company, Dallas, Tex.

[22] Filed: March 17, 1971 [21] Appl. No.: 125,372

Related US. Application Data [63] Continuation of Ser. No. 827,292, May 23, 1969,

abandoned.

[52] US. Cl ..340/26 [5 1] Int. Cl. ..G08g 5/00 [58] Field of Search ..340/23, 24, 25, 26, 35, 40; 343/7 RS, 8

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,892,995 6/1959 Kearney et al. ..340/22 3,254,324 5/l966 Casciato et al .340/35 Primary Examineri(athleen H. Claffy Assistant Examiner-Thomas L. Kundert Attorney-John E. Wilson, John Maier, ill and Marvin A. Naigur [57] ABSTRACT As an identified object, such as an aircraft on the ground is scheduled to cross the surface traffic network of certain areas, such as an airport, its identification and point of destination on the ground are fed to an automatic digital computerized controller comprising integrated intersection traffic control and monitoring logic units, which automatically generates a selected route from the point of origin of the object to such destination point, and by appropriate guidance displays including such identification, directs the pilot or driver of the object at each traffic intersection when safely to enter and in which direction to proceed, until the object reaches the desired destination point.

4 Claims, 39 Drawing Figures BASIC i wmysaTm PATENTEDUEB Is I972 3 106.969 SHEET 01 0F 17 /0 12 CONTROL PANEL LARGE cENTRAL FOR GRouND DIGITAL DETECTORS coNTRoLLER coMPuTER 20- l 1 x4 (/5 RECORDER RouTE DISPLAY FOR OFF LINE GUIDANCE FOR GROUND sToRAGE cIRcuIT coNTRoLLER FIG. 1

CONTROL PANEL DISPLAY FOR GRoLIND SK QE FOR GRouND coNTRoLLER coNTRoLLER 20 REcoRDER /7 /&

GRouND 2 LOG'C oETEcToRs I GUIDANCE TAXIWAY DISPLAYS GROUND GIUIDANCE F' INVENTOR.

TAXIWAY 3 DISPLAYS CA/VDELAR/O PAREDES SARA/WELL PIT E77 K/NG AT TORNEY PATENTEIJ I 9 I 3. 706, 969 SHEET o2 BF I? BASIC SYSTEM CONFIGURATION T Q a '1 ICONTROL TOWER 207 I DIGITAL I COMPUTER RECORDER I I FOR OFF LINE I I STORAGE I I H 24 /5 I I I CONTROL PANEL DIGITAL DISPLAY I FOR GROUND COMMUNICATION F GROUND CONTROLLER SUBSYSTEM C ROLLER I LOGIC I I ,(438

KNTERSECILION l8 DANCE 9- XIWAY DETECTORS DISPLAYS 1 28 F IG. 4

AIRPORT LAYOUT TERMINAL W/ /Mg W/W/A FIG. 5

PAIENTEII "El I 9 I973 3.706.969 sum OBIIF 17 RUNWAY CODE RUNWAY CODE TAXIWAY CODE RUNWAY TURNOFF CODE RUNWAY DETECTOR CODE RUNWAY TURNOFF CODE ,, APRON THROAT CODE O O O O O O RUNWAY LIST FIG. 6'

RUNWAY DETECTOR LIST M FIG. 7

COORDINATE LIST FIG.8

TAXIWAY CODE INTERSECTION CODE INTERSECTION CODE INTERSECTION CODE TAXIWAY TAXIWAY TAXIWAY TAXIWAY CODE CODE CODE CODE RUNWAY TURNOFF CODE INTERSECTION CODE APRON THROAT CODE INTERSECTION CODE TAXIWAY LIST FIG. 9

PA'TENTEI'] IIEB 19 I972 SHEET U IIIF 17 AIRCRAFT IDENTIFICATION CODE TAXIWAY CODE TAXIWAY CODE POSITION POINTER POSITION REGISTER ROUTE ARRAY FIG. 10

AIRCRAFT IDENTIFICATION CODE RU NWAY DETECTOR CODE RUNWAY DETECTOR CODE POSITION POINTER POSITION REGISTER RUNWAY TRACKING LIST FIG. 11

AIRCRAFT IDENTIFICATION CODE INTERSECTION CODE TAXIWAY CODE VIOLATION ARRAY FIG. 12

PAIE'N'TEDIIEI I9 I972 3. 706. 969

SHEET 05 0F 17 FROM T3 II ISIS) T0 COMPUTER V OCCUP'ED I T4IIII DISPLAY T4 OCCUPIED FR M T2 HOLD SIGNAL To COMPUTER (sIe) ALARM G8 VOCCUPIED I FROM TI SIO (SI?) occuPIEgI T4(I2I L4 TDI Q EL ISM)? TAXIWAY s r DETECTOR 0 I I U FROM F I (sIzI sls I 622 TI r-------1 TOTI 5 T02 I, I @L (52) Q I I I I I I I 520 L I I I I I l I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I l I I I I I I I I II I I I I III I I I I I I I I I I II I I I I I I I I I I I i 1 (s7) T4II2) 7 DISPLAY TO COMPUTER sIRIkE ALARM T4II|I LRQ TAXIWAY s Q DETECTOR Q2 TO COMPUTER T4OCCUPIED FROM TIO I2 cc FRov TII 'FRoMTI 12 OCCUPIED PATENTED DEC 1 9 9 3.706.969 sum 05 0F 17 FT TURN LEFT TURN STRAIGHT RT. TURN SHEET 0? or 17 D2 1 /T2 W LT; III

PATENTED on: 19 I972 FIG. 14

I l I I I I I HCOMPUTER T-4 LOGIC I DETECTOR FIG. 15

T3 LOGIC DETECTOR TAXIWAY UIISPIV IIY R m RIFI. w n MAY D WL w I TI mo R O T mi T E YY D m MPII I S mm PArEmmnmswn 3.706.969

SHEET DBBF 17 T0 Tl DESIRED ROUTE m n D TO TI T0 T2 D TO COMPUTER ALARM TO COMPUTER ALARM TO COMPUTER ALARM TO COMPUTER ALARM TO COMPUTER ALARM TO COMPUTER A LARM PATENTED DEC 19 I972 .706.969 SHEET U9 IIF 17 FROM COMPUTER 17 TO GUIDANCE DISPLAY "HOLD" RUNWAY HAS BEEN SEIZED TO RUNWAY GUIDANCE DETECTOR #l P'SPLAK ss $5 CLEAR RUNWAY S Q DETECTOR #2 FROM GROUND CONTROLLER RADIO CLEARANCE HAS BEEN GIVEN FROM GROUND LOGIC T6 IS TO BE OCCUPIED TAXIWAY DETECTOR RUNWAY DETECTOR FROM COMPUTER THIS TURNOFF MAY BE OCCUPIED FROM GROUND LOGIC T7 IS TO BE OCCUPIED VISUAL DISPLAY RUNWAY DETECTORS RUNWAY TAXIWAY DETECTOR TO GUIDANCE DISPLAY y- TURNOFF CLE AR TO ENTER TO GROUND H LOGIC T8 IS TO BE OCCUPIED FIG. 19

CENTERLINE LIGHTING GUIDANCE INFORMATION RUNWAY GUIDANCE DISPLAY \El RUNWAY A RUNWAY DETECTORS FIG. 20

QC JUL 1V6 \JL J )L )OL DC 3L X )L 30c TL 03 C ENTRANCE GUIDANCE INFORMATION DISPLAYS APRON AREA II I III II III TERMINAL ENLARGED ENTRANCE GUIDANCE INFORMATION DISPLAY {SEVEN ALPHANUMERIC CHARACTERS I I; I SDIRECTIONAL DISPLAY FIG. 22

PATENTED HEB I9 I 3.706.969 SHEET 1 1 III 17 /APRON THROAT APRON DISPLAY-FD? A MARKING WITH PAINT OR EMBEDDED LIGHTS FIG. 24

FIG. 23

ARROWS INDICATE LINES OF OBSERVATION OF RUNWAY TURNOFF INFORMATION 1y Jk 0 JL 0 kxq UI/AKIL TDE3 0 I It. )EUOCJC: ED AQEDDT:J

\f 1mm? HIGH SPEED RUNWAY TURNOFF GUIDANCE INFORMATION DISPLAYS FIG. 25

ENLARGED HIGH SPEED TURNOFF GUIDANCE DISPLAY I; 777]; I x x I: A x

DIRECTIONAL DIS PLAY 74 FIG. 26'

PA TENIEII I 9 I97? 3 706. 969

SHEET 12 GF 17 CENTERLINE LIGHTING TO INDICATE HIGH SPEED RUNWAY TURNOFFS J RUNWAY J\ Jk \\jL\// NI IQNT ]O[ J JL JL JI JOLQ A I m 1 J L J RUNWAY NI j aw JOLJS II I RUNW I JOCK: NCTZ$ LJOLJ HIGH SPEED RUNWAY TURNOFF GUIDANCE INFORMATION DISPLAYS FIG. 28

WHERE TAXIWAY CROSSES RUNWAY THE GUIDANCE DISPLAY WILL BE ON THE SAME SIDE AT THE INTERSECTION AS THE+VEHICLE I RUNWAY GUI DANCE INFORMATION DISPLAY ARROWS INDICATE LINES OF OBSERVATION OF GUIDANCE INFORMATION PATENTEII E I 9 I 7 3.706, 989 sum 13 0F 17 ENLARGED GUIDANCE INFORMATION DISPLAY M /DIRECTIONAL DISPLAY I 1 FIG.3OH{ T]H1W RED LIGHTING STRIPS TO INDICATE HOLD CONDITION TAXIWAYS PATENTED E m2 3106.969 SHEET NM 17 ROUTE OF NRC RAFT C DOC EIL 3L TL Q lNT o de CTloN QLDOQL 3 TL 30L 3L 3L 1 L RUNWAY NO 4 FIG. 32

PATENTEU 19 I97? 3. 706. 96 9 SHEET 17UF 17 NTRANC UIDANCE INFORMAT DISPLAY gGUlDANCE DISPLAY T3 T4 T0 i fi t FIG. 35 FIG 36' TERMINAL TERMINAL CONFRONTATION SITUATION RED sTRIP LIGHTING GUIDANCE DISPLAY HOLD INDICATOR TI #4 T2 T6 T8 DETECTOR FIG. 37 FIG. 38

AIRPORT GROUND AIRCRAFT AUTOMATIC TAXI ROUTE SELECTING AND TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION The present application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 827,292, filed May 23, 1969 and now abandoned.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to surface traffic control systems, and more particularly to the automatic route selection and guidance of an individual vehicles, such as identified aircraft and automotive transports along such route across a network of ground ways of an airport.

In the past, airport ground traffic was managed by a person known as the ground controller who was stationed in the airport control tower. It was the ground controllers responsibility to advise and guide all ground traffic to keep it moving smoothly and safely. To do this effectively, the controller had to be able to see the taxiing planes and vehicular traffic, and constantly be aware of their locations and final destinations. During heavy traffic periods it was difficult for the ground controller to guide all planes; therefore, when a plane landed, he gave the pilot a general route to follow to his destination, and then it was up to the pilot to find his way either from memory or by following a taxiway map.

At night and during periods of low visibility, such personalized traffic control tended to break down. At such times, even pilots familiar with an airport needed guidance to their destination. Under such conditions, though it was difficult or actually impossible for the ground controller to see the planes and taxiways, he was required to guide them to their destinations.

Many air traffic control systems for automatically guiding air traffic in flight and while landing have been proposed in the past, such as that disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 3,03 l ,65 8, to Green et al., dated Apr. 24, 1962.

Furthermore, an electrical control system for controlling point-to-point movements of elevated vehicles riding on a rail track has been proposed by Midis et al, US. Pat. No. 3,263,625, dated Aug. 2, 1966.

A system for freeway access ramp traffic control is disclosed by US. Pat. No. 3,384,869, to Waldron, dated May 21, 1968; and a centralized digital traffic counting system for recording and control is proposed in US. Pat. No. 3,322,940 dated May 30, 1967 by Barker et al.

The prior art thus falls into three types: 1) Traffic ground control systems for highways and intersections; 2) Traffic air control for handling aircraft in flight or landing; 3) Traffic rail control of vehicles on tracks.

In the first type no provision was made for controlling any selected individual ground vehicle through a maze of intersections from a point of origin to a point of destination over a preselected route in a network of ways. In the second type, each plane, on landing, was taken over by the ground control personnel as noted above. And in the third type, the vehicles had to remain on the tracks or rails in moving from one station, or siding, to another. Thus, none of such types was concerned with the problems peculiar to ground traffic control in airports.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention virtually eliminates such problems by locating identified aircraft on the ground by means of detectors on the ways, instead of by visual sightings; automatically keeping track of all ground traffic operating on the airport ways; generating a unique taxi route for each vehicle traveling on the ground across the airport; and directing the pilot by guidance display means at each traffic intersection whether his aircraft may enter and in which direction to proceed to attain his destination on the ground via such route.

The function of the detectors is to detect the presence of aircraft or other vehicles in the taxiways and runways. In most taxiways a detector is located at each end thereof. The detectors located in the runways preferably are positioned just before and just after each runway turnoff and each taxiway crossing. The inputs to the detectors are the presence of an aircraft or vehicles at such locations and the output is an electric signal sent to a ground logic unit associated with the taxiway or runway in which the detector is located.

A novel system is provided by the invention which automatically controls all airport traffic within the ground traffic controller's area of responsibility. The controller oversees the general operation of the system and furnishes it with information regarding each planes identification (airline and flight number, or registration number), origin, and destination.

The preferred basic system of the invention is composed of at least one programmable digital computer, and a network of digital logic units. The computer generates automatically a selected route for each identified object (an aircraft on ground, for example), keeps track of such object's progress, in cooperation with the logic units which generate an appropriate advisory display at each intersection. The logic units automatically control traffic by such displays at the intersections in a manner somewhat similar to traffic lights at street intersections, but may include identification of the object to be guided so that the driver or pilot thereof is visually notified of the directions being applicable to his particular object. The logic units also act as an interface between the taxiway displays and the computer.

As soon as a plane is cleared to land, the ground traffic controller furnishes the computer with the plane's identification, the runway on which it is to land, and the terminal of destination. The so identified plane is picked up by the system as soon as the first runway detector is tripped and is tracked as the plane moves down the runway. The pilot is directed to turn off wherever he is able to do so. When he chooses a runway turnoff and proceeds onto it, a runway turnoff detector is tripped. Because the system now knows where the plane has turned off the runway, and it already knows the destination of the plane, the computer automatically generates a route, taking into account any restrictions placed on it by the ground controller.

The computer keeps track of the planes progress by means of detectors on the ground. As the plane approaches an intersection and its presence is detected, information is layed to the computer and the local intersection control (ground logic). If the plane is the only one present at the intersection, the local control allows the computer to display the routing information and the local control may allow the identification of the plane and an indication as to which direction it may turn.

If more than one plane arrives at an intersection at approximately the same time, the ground logic withholds the computer generated routing information for all but the first plane, while others are given a Hold signal. The local control receives information from the computer as to the programmed route (i.e., exit from the intersection) of the first plane, and if that route is clear, it allows the computer display the appropriate routing information to control all surface traffic on the taxiways of the airport with safety, effciency and speed.

AIRPORT SYSTEM The invention thus serves to safely manage the movement of all surface traffic within the ground traffic controllers area of responsibility. The latter oversees operation of the entire system and, as pointed out above, furnishes it with information regarding aircraft identification (airline and flight number, or registration number), origin, and destination.

The system preferably comprises the following major elements: (1 detectors in the taxiways and runways to identify the presence of aircraft thereon, (2) guidance information media to convey routing information to pilots or vehicle drivers, (3) a programmable digital computer which generates the route for each aircraft and keeps track of its progress, and includes off-line storage means, (4) digital ground logic units which are the heart of the system and interface with each of the other elements, (5) a ground controller panel which serves as an interface between the ground controller and the rest of the system, (6) a display for providing current status and alarm information to the ground controller, and (7) a digital communications subsystem for interconnecting other subsystems. The ground logic units control each taxiway and intersection by the information they send to the guidance display media. In essence, the ground logic units make "go no-go" logical decisions on whether to allow an aircraft to proceed with a programmed manuever. The decisions are based on routing information from the computer and signals from the detectors indicating aircraft locations.

The ground logic units control the traffic flow through each taxiway and intersection by means of the information that they send to the guidance media. The guidance devices, as their description denotes, are used for providing commands to the pilot of an aircraft on how to proceed to his destination (i.e., turn left, turn right, hold, etc.).

The following is a brief description of the operation:

When an aircraft is cleared to land on a particular runway, this information is passed from the tower controller to the ground traffic controller. The destination (terminal and gate number) is obtained from flight schedulers controller well in advance of arrival time. The computer locates the aircraft's position after it touches down and crosses the runway detector.

The runway detectors are placed just before and just after each turnoff or taxiway crossing to notify the ground control system immediately of the clearance status of the runway. This is to expedite flow of traffic that is crossing the runway. It should be noted that the reason for locating a detector just before and just after taxiway crossing or turnoff is to enable the system to determine when the aircraft that is being serviced by the runway has moved past a given taxiway or turnway turnoff. The two detectors allow the system to operate with aircraft moving in either direction along the runway.

As soon as the aircraft leaves the runway and trips a runway turnoff entrance detector, this point of entry along with the destination are used to generate an optimum route for the identified aircraft to follow. When generating the route, any restriction placed by the ground controller are taken into consideration.

The computer keeps track of the aircraft's progress by means of the detectors. As the aircraft approaches an intersection and its presence is detected, information is relayed to the computer and the local intersection control (ground logic). If the aircraft is the only one present at the intersection, the local control allows the display of the routing information and an indication as to which direction to proceed.

If more than one aircraft arrives at an intersection at approximately the same time, the ground logic withholds the computer generated routing information for all but the first aircraft while others are given a Hold signal. The local control receives information from the computer as to the programmed route (i.e., exit from the intersection) of he first aircraft, and if that route is clear, allows the routing information to be displayed. As soon as the aircraft clears the intersection, the local control looks at the programmed path of the next aircraft, and if it is clear, allows it to proceed. If the programmed route of the first aircraft is occupied by another aircraft, the local control holds the first aircraft, and allows the second aircraft to proceed first, if its route is clear.

The aircraft proceeds under computer guidance until it reaches the apron area near its destination. At this point, he ramp agent assumes responsibility for directing the aircraft to the proper gate.

The basic procedure is the same for aircraft that are leaving the terminal to take off except that the entrance into the controlled area is the throat of the apron and the destination the takeoff queue.

Regarding movement from terminal to maintenance or between any other two points, the only information the system requires is the entry and exit points of the aircraft.

Vehicular traffic is handled by the system in the same manner as an aircraft (i.e., identification of the vehicle, and its origin and destination are furnished to the computer and the computer guides it through the controlled area) or the computer may just disregard any vehicle which it can not identify. But in either case, a vehicle would still come under the control of the ground logic elements of the system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a digital computerized ground traffic control system illustrative of the invention for a typical airport;

FIG. 2 is a simplified block diagram of a preferred system;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a modification;

Claims (4)

1. A surface traffic control system for controlling the movement of vehicles including automotive transports and taxiing aircraft over a network of surface ways and intersections for the automatic generation of a current optimum route for use by selected individual operator driven vehicles over said network of surface ways, comprising: detector means located at said intersections for sensing the presence and absence of vehicles at said intersections; a plurality of individual digital logic means for each of said intersections operatively connected to each other and to each of said detector means to respond to the existing traffic at such intersection detected by said detector means for defining a traffic pattern at such intersection and for safely controlling the flow of traffic at such intersection; a central digital computer operatively connected to said digital logic means for generating an optimum route in relation to existing traffic conditions on said neTwork of surface ways for use by each of said vehicles on said network, said optimum route passing through a plurality of said intersections at each of which said optimum route may take a plurality of paths; route guidance means operatively connected to said digital logic means for indicating to the operator of each selected vehicle the optimum route generated by said central digital computer.
2. A surface traffic control system according to claim 1 in which said network includes intersections of taxiways and runways, and individual digital logic means are comprised of individual satellite digital computers located at each of said intersections.
3. A surface traffic control system according to claim 1 in which said route guidance means include visual displays located at said traffic control stations for indicating to the operator of said vehicles the correct instructions for traversing said optimum route.
4. A surface traffic control system according to claim 1 in which said digital computer is under the supervision of the ground controller of the airport, such that when the identification of a particular vehicle is supplied to said computer along with the desired destination and point of origin thereof, said optimum route is automatically selected by the computer which thereupon in cooperation with said logic means guides said particular vehicle over said optimum route.
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