Runway incursion (any presence of unauthorised entities on a runway) is a major threat to safety, which existing airport surface management systems are unable to completely eliminate. The incursion rate remains steady (3/100,000 operations) and events continue to occur (28 near-miss collisions in the last 5 years).
Systems which have helped to improve safety at airports, such as A-SMGCS (available in many major airports) and ground safety nets (e.g. RWSL), are not expected to fully resolve the runway incursion risk and are not envisaged to be deployed at smaller airports. Although TCAS has been in use since 1981, there is currently no aircraft system to prevent runway collisions.
Through the STAIRS project (S2020-W1 PJ03B05), we will use ADS-B technology to validate on-board surface alerts with possible indications (SURF-A and SURF-IA) – the ultimate safety net against collision when all previous barriers have failed.