Airport Ground Control System Launched

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Stopping runway incursions just got easier ... in a complicated sort of way. London Heathrow Airport is claiming to be the first to use an electronic system to monitor and plot the position of aircraft and vehicles on the ground. The Multistatic Dependent Surveillance (MDS) system uses a system of sensors, radar and transponders to give ground controllers an accurate picture of the location of everything with wheels on the airport grounds. In case you're wondering, the system works by processing "signals from transponder-equipped aircraft and vehicles using a time difference of arrival technique commonly called multilateration," according to the system's creator, Sensis Corporation. Seems a lot more complicated than following signs and listening to ground controllers' directions but best we can tell that wasn't catching on to someone's satisfaction. The system will be installed at seven more European airports and at 25 in the U.S.