New Technology Aims To Enhance Bird Detection

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A new feature from Xsight Systems aims to improve the detection of ground-level birds in real time, in severe weather, and in the dark, the company said this week. The feature, called BirdWize, is an add-on to a system the company sells for detecting foreign-object debris on runways. "Forty percent of all bird-related incidents happen on the ground," said Xsight CEO Alon Nitzan. "This solution provides airport personnel with a more effective way to track birds and their behavior patterns." The product employs a dual technology sensor, with millimeter-wave radar and electro-optic abilities, together with radar and image processing, to help detect ground-level threats from FOD and birds if they appear on the runway, the company said.

The FAA says that due to increasing traffic, the introduction of quiet engines on newer airplanes, and an increasing wildlife population, the probability of wildlife strikes has been increasing dramatically. From 1990 to 2011, the agency recorded 133,000 wildlife strikes. The vast majority of bird strikes, about 92 percent, occur at or below 3,500 feet AGL, the FAA said. The agency has been researching a variety of methods to mitigate the hazard, including sensor development, habitat modification, and deterrence systems.