Tallinn University of Technology

In the spring, a bachelor's thesis was defended at Tallinn University of Technology, the aim of which was to develop and test airport service vehicle tracking software in order to ensure better situational awareness in the airfield. The thesis also won first place in the hardware and systems category of the TalTech IT Innovation Festival.


Air traffic control is an essential element for the operation of any airfield, with the task of instructing the pilot. The air traffic controller is also responsible for ground air traffic control, where in addition to airplane, ground service vehicles must also be handled. One of the most critical elements in the decision-making process of this work is situational awareness. Statistics show that many incidents at the airport are due to insufficient information. The air traffic controller must always know the location of the service vehicles in order to avoid a collision between the aircraft and the service vehicle.

Therefore, airport operators need a software that is able to transmit real-time information about vehicles in the traffic area of the airport (eg location, speed, call sign and direction of travel). This gives the air traffic controller better conditions to monitor service vehicles and reduces the likelihood of the error of the air traffic control.

The bachelor's student started to solve the problem

Yevgeny Druzkov studied this issue in his bachelor's thesis defended at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), which won first place in the hardware and systems category of the TalTech IT Innovation Festival. The aim of his work was to develop and test aerodrome service vehicle tracking software to ensure better situational awareness in the field of air traffic.

Druzhkov wrote that many airports control air traffic mainly by radio and use optical devices within visibility. Due to the large area, it is impossible visually inspect the traffic in full, so it is necessary to take into account mainly the information transmitted by radio. This situation causes great psychological and intellectual strain on air traffic controllers, which increases the likelihood of error.

Result of the work was a module mainly for air traffic controllers, which can be used in other airport units, such as track master, rescue services and the air safety unit. The module that takes into account the needs of the air traffic controller shows the location data of active vehicles, log extracts and telemetry data. In addition to visual monitoring, it is possible to establish a voice communication with the vehicle and the interface can be used in various information systems.

According to Yevgeny Druzhkov, who graduated from the Development of IT Systems curriculum, the developed software will provide a better overview of the airport's ground traffic, and the air traffic controller will be able to make faster decisions by mitigating aviation safety risks. In addition, better quality safety oversight and a better air traffic controller training process will be achieved.