Aireon-Searidge Deal Promises To Unlock ADS-B Potential

 - March 19, 2020, 11:22 AM

The collaboration between space-based surveillance business Aireon and Canada’s Searidge Technologies is demonstrating the growing popularity of industrial partnerships that unlock the potential of operational data.

As part of the deal struck on March 10, Aireon will supply space-based ADS-B data to Searidge’s air navigation service provider (ANSP) and airport customers in support of the Canadian business’ digital tower and advanced airport solutions.

Searidge said it has been integrating Aireon’s space-based automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data into its technology platform since collaboration with U.S.-based Aireon began in June 2019.

Searidge’s digital tower technology harnesses air traffic management data and applies artificial intelligence to enhance resilience, capacity, and efficiency. With Aireon’s real-time air traffic service surveillance-grade data, Searidge will be able to add flight positioning and flight status data with no requirement for auxiliary equipment.

Jean-Sebastien Meloche, Searidge Technologies’ chief architect, told AIN that the capability will be of particular interest to small to medium airfields in the U.S. with limited or no surveillance capability as part of a digital tower project. Those airfields might be too remote to tap into the surveillance data feed via the Federal Aviation Administration’s SWIM platform.

Current estimates indicate that the FAA and U.S. Department of Defense operate more than 500 towers that will need upgrading as part of the National Airspace System modernization effort with another 20,000 small airports and landing strips that do not have towers.

Meloche explained that Searidge has designed the platform for use with Aireon data and has been developing point-to-point integration, not just using it in real-time but “storing, analyzing and playing with it.”

“We’ve been developing use cases such as early alerts, pattern recognition, and post-analysis,” he said. “Much of the work Searidge has been doing has been driven by our customers on a project basis and has focused on integration into airport operational databases and the Flight Data Manager of an air navigation service provider.

“Basically, it’s an API,” explained Meloche, who added that Searidge wants to become the first to offer space-based air traffic surveillance as part of a digital tower solution. “We‘re coming at it as a commercial offering where the base data is positional accuracy,” he said.

Searidge said its platform is customizable and scalable to any traffic volume and operational requirement and will offer customers access to the highest fidelity data available to the industry in real-time. 

“The value to the customer is huge,” added Meloche. “Especially for a small airfield site that would struggle to provide and maintain equipment. It also represents a potential upgrade path to existing Searidge customers. Neither requires new equipment, just a connection.”