There’s no question that Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS) have had a significant beneficial impact on aviation safety since initial government-mandated implementations began in the mid-1990s.
While the design intent for the original TCAS computers was essentially to reduce the potential for mid-air collisions, traffic computers have seen great growth in functionality. And Honeywell has been at the forefront of the development of these systems since their inception. Evasive maneuver guidance, aural alerts and algorithm refinement have helped to further reduce the probability of mid-air collisions.
Now Honeywell is taking TCAS to the next level by introducing equipment capable of processing ADS-B―Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast―to enhance TCAS performance.
ADS-B messages are transmitted from aircraft equipped with suitable transponders, containing information such as identity, location, and velocity. Since ADS-B messages can be received at greater range than TCAS normally operates, aircraft can be acquired earlier.In addition, the identity information present in ADS-B messages can be used to label other aircraft on the cockpit display (where present), painting a picture similar to what an air traffic controller would see, thereby improving situational awareness.
Incorporating ADS-B not only improves the pilot’s situation awareness, it also extends the aircraft’s traffic computer function from one of safety to one of operational improvements to reduce congestion, expedite traffic and save fuel burn through improved routing.
Honeywell’s SmartTraffic computer that includes TCAS and ADS-B technologies is designed to make flying safer while increasing capacity and reducing environmental impact. The SmartTraffic CAS 100 System offers three models of commercial TCAS and this next generation product has sufficient processing capacity to incorporate future ADS-B IN functionality.
SmartTraffic is now available on a variety of air transport and regional aircraft (Airbus, Boeing, Embraer), business jet (Dassault, Gulfstream) and helicopter (AgustaWestland, Eurocopter) platforms.