When the Federal Aviation Administration announced a new set of safety management rules for airport construction, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) leaders knew they needed an innovative and affordable way to meet the FAA’s requirements.
That’s why CVG is in the process of testing a cutting-edge, artificial intelligence-driven technology – powered by the sun.
The Volan Positioning System, VPS, is a solar-powered wireless network that uses secure locators and beacons to precisely monitor airport construction workers and vehicles and alerts workers, escorts, and other airport officials if someone wanders too close to a runway, taxiway, or outside of their restricted area.
“CVG Airport is a city within a city and provides an ideal location to serve as the VPS testbed. Spanning across 7,700 acres, CVG has an unrelenting commitment to safety and has always been on the front end of innovation and sustainability,” said Brian Cobb, Chief Innovation Officer of CVG. “We’re optimistic that VPS will enable us to comply with FAA rules by improving our span of positive control, while at the same time helping us save money by not requiring us to divert airport employees from other duties simply to monitor construction crews working near sensitive areas of the airport.”
During the test, which kicked off in May 2023 and is expected to last roughly six months, construction workers are required to wear a badge-size VPS locator on a lanyard whenever they enter their predetermined work area. Locators are also installed on construction vehicles and equipment, like bulldozers and forklifts. VPS continually monitors the location of each locator, alerting workers, safety monitors, and operations if someone gets too close to a restricted area like an active runway or if someone steps out of their predetermined work zone.
“One of the ways VPS saves airports money is because they can use fewer people for construction safety monitoring while increasing security and safety,” said Michael Bettua, CEO of Volan. “It’s also incredibly easy and fast to set up; our technicians installed the entire system at CVG in hours, and it only took us 30 minutes to train the airport staff on how to use it.”
VPS forms its own wireless network with zero dependency on the airport IT network, eliminating the risk of things like a lost Wi-Fi or cellular phone signal. In the time a cell-phone carrier drops and regains a signal, someone could have accidentally wandered into a restricted area.
- WHAT: A test of a solar-powered, AI-driven location monitoring network
- WHERE: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
- WHEN: May – October 2023
- KEY RESULTS: Safer airports thanks to reduced runway incursions and security incidents
- Credit-card size beacons run on solar power
- Network installed in 45 minutes
- Badge-size wireless Locators worn on belt clips or lanyards
- 500K square feet construction site for pilot program