AscendXYZ has won a Horizon2020 grant for further development of a revolutionary solution

There is something exciting that AscendXYZ has been keeping under the radar (pun intended) for quite some time. AscendXYZ has recently been awarded 1.2 million European Union’s grant under the 2020 research and innovation programme.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest European Union Research and Innovation programme ever with almost €80 billions of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) in addition to the private investments this funding instrument attracts. The programme aims to support a successful rollout of highly innovative breakthrough ideas and solutions, support discoveries and aid world-firsts from prototype or lab phase to the market. Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. The goal is to ensure thatEurope produces world-class innovation and helps to fight barriers delivering that innovation to the market.  

Horizon 2020 SME Instrument is looking for innovation that targets new markets, is aiming to bring novel approaches, offer ground-breaking solutions, and have exceptionally high potential. We are proud to have our idea recognised as high-potential disruptive innovation, that together with the help of funding, will be matured and brought to global market. AscendXYZ is grateful and proud to be chosen among top 5% of applicants from all over Europe and is strongly motivated to successfully bring the matured solution to the aviation industry 

Since this Horizon2020 grant is soft funding (meaning no strings attached besides doing our best to successfully implement the project), receiving this grant gives us certain freedom to bring a very specific solution to life that solves important challenges for the aviation safety while keeping the focus on development and successful commercialisation.  

But what is it that AscendXYZ is presenting to the aviation world that got the attention and backing of the EU? Well, without further ado we present you the Ascend Avian Radar Network or AARN. A solution that does not exist in the market but has been something that our customers have been looking for. We wish to accelerate the delivery of a long-sought solutionWe are disrupting bird strike prevention with the world’s first airline-centric solution.AARN connects multiple Ascend (and 3rd parties’) radars in multiple airports to deliver airlines and their pilots real-time bird activity data, forecasts, and warnings of high-risk periods in all airports that airline chooses to include in its subscription. The AARN is unique, since it offers airlines access to the real-time and historical radar data and predictions. It means that the AARN enables airlines to take a proactive approach in order to minimise the risk of a bird strike by mitigating it from an operational and planning perspectives.We think that the goal of the AARN is clear -improve airline profitability while increasing flight safety.  

With the EU grant we are able to speed up the process of the AARN maturation and invest significant time and resources into making a unique solution available to the airlinesYou can see airline avian radar solution in action in Aalborg airport hereThe overall long-term goal of AARN is to, of course, decrease the risk of bird strikes not only within the EU, but also globally.  

We are here to enable safe and uninterrupted aircraft operations worldwide. Follow our journey! 

If you are interested to hear more, contact us at [email protected]  

 

 

 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 880308.


What's new on our website?

AscendXYZ is proud to announce the launch of our new website that matches our expanding role as an expert solution provider for the aviation industry.

Our new website provides a clear message of what we stand for and where our value lies when developing, delivering and supporting digital aviation solutions. The website now has an improved intuitive and consistent site-wide navigation system that directs you to the information most relevant to you. It is also easy to navigate on a wide range of web browsers and portable devices.

We’ve introduced several new products, including Avian Radar and Digital Airport solution, as well as significant updates for the other solutions.  Furthermore, we added a range of new content to the website, including downloadable product information, that provides you with a walkthrough of our products, creates a better understanding of developed solutions and their integration with existing processes.

In addition, our popular blog has received a much-needed makeover and grew to a News section enabling you to access the articles that matter to you through smart topic filters.

Another major update – due to high demand from our customers, our new website is now available in Spanish! It has been a big task, but worth the work, since we want our content to be more accessible worldwide.

Last, but not least, we introduced a new Airport Operations XYZ magazine, focused on airport safeguarding, management and operations. In the Winter 2018 issue, you will find news on various airport operations related topics, including improvements and new technology. The magazine is available on our website (free to download or read online), and – it is available both in English and Spanish languages.

Going forward, we will continue to communicate regularly through our articles in the News section. We also plan to continue adding more video content and product information to provide you with all of the information you need to evaluate our products and services.

We are proud of the new website and feel it will create the experience you are looking for when you pay us a visit. Check out the new website here: www.ascendxyz.com


AirshareXYZ present at the World Birdstrike Association Conference

 

The AirshareXYZ project is focusing on establishing a collaborative industry approach to wildlife management in order to secure safe and continuous uninterrupted operations for airlines and passengers.

The immediate project focus is to gather experience and feedback from airports in order to create an understanding of the most effective wildlife management actions and establish a knowledge sharing ecosystem. The AirshareXYZ is an attempt to identify key factors and concrete elements of an efficient wildlife control and reduction plan and share this knowledge across the industry.

In other words, the AirshareXYZ project is  crowdsourcing the best possible wildlife control and reduction practices.

In the first part of the project, the use of different types of mitigating actions has been mapped out across destinations around the world that are participating in the AirshareXYZ project. The next phase will be to ask airports to share their experience on the use of mitigating measures, efficiency, species, etc. The vision is to give airports access to experience and knowledge from peers at other airports, as well as actively communicating with airlines where and how the risk can be reduced.

The initial survey has been sent out to 700+ airports worldwide. The follow-up questionnaire will be drafted at the WBA Conference during the Data & Oversight workshop, using the experience of worldwide experts. We would appreciate your input during this process – join us at the workshop at the WBA meeting. You can sign up here.

Collaboration is the key to success! It is important to understand that the AirshareXYZ project is not an assessment; it is an attempt to establish a cross-industry collaboration. The results of the project will be published on the AirshareXYZ project website, where you can also find monthly progress reports and much more.

Airport participation is essential– but completely voluntary. Airports approve with whom they wish to share their data. In all public analyses data is anonymised to a continental level.

See you in Warsaw on 19-23 of November 2018 – remember to sign up!

 

 


Birds and the plane

Are warnings on high bird activity meaningless without standards?

Recently I have been giving quite a few thoughts on standards of "bird activity high", or rather the lack of them. If you have 5 minutes, I would appreciate your feedback.

  1. Do you reduce speed and/or turn on landing lights on approach if you hear “bird activity high” on ATIS?
  2. Would you reduce speed and/or turn on landing lights if the information was based on a standard?
  3. Do you include bird activity in your briefing today?
  4. Would you include this in your briefing if it was based on a standard?

What is the point with these questions, after all?

From time to time pilots are issued warnings about "bird activity high" on ATIS. Ideally, this would prompt a set of actions corresponding to the situation – typically turning on the landing lights, reducing airspeed or a combination of the two.

The question, however, is whether warnings about high bird activity have any real meaning, as long as there is no official standard regulating when airports report “bird activity high.” Even worse, some airports issue warnings per default, thus rendering the information essentially meaningless.

So how could a standard increase the value of these warnings? Do they even matter in the first place? Let us look at the factors at play.

How to reduce risk: Speed is of the essence!

Although bird strikes rarely lead to fatalities, they are the direct cause of significant damage to planes, as well as dents in the profit of airlines.

One of our clients, a major European airline, reports approximately 600-800 bird strikes a year. Each bird strike amounts to an average cost of € 56,000, split almost evenly between costs going towards repairs and indirect costs such as compensation to passengers, re-booking of flights etc.

Therefore, a fair warning leading to an efficient response avoiding a strike or minimizing the potential damage is of the essence.

If there is, in fact, high bird activity in a given area, the operational response to a “bird activity high” could very well be: “Reduce your speed," as a 15% speed reduction reduces the impact energy by approximately 1/3.  As a direct result, the risk to pilots and passengers, as well as related costs of following repairs are reduced significantly.

To understand what the speed means for the impact, I looked at the kinetic energy in the table below:

Table 1 Approximate Bird-impact Forces (lbs.) (1).

On an Airbus 321 cruising at 250 knots, a 15% reduction to minimum clean speed 210 knots could have a significant effect. When looking at FAR 25 design criteria and impact speed, it becomes evident that a mere 15% reduction in speed, could bring you within the design criteria – even in case of a collision with an avian heavyweight like a Canada goose.

Table 2 Summary of FAA Airframe Bird Strike Airworthiness Requirements (Detailed information in Appendix 5.1)(table 5.5 in the source) (1).

These points are essential to keep in mind, considering the risk in case of a bird strike on engines or, especially, the windscreen.

Not only are these areas among most critical, but also where the majority of bird strikes actually happen. This should be clear from the illustration below, showing the locations and percentages of impacts, based on statistics from pilot and maintenance reports:

Picture 1 Locations of bird strike damage (4).

Where is the risk?

The risk of bird strikes increases with proximity to the ground. Most of the time a speed reduction will be possible. The consideration here is, that a speed reduction would also lead to a slightly prolonged airborne time. However, we are talking about 1-2 minutes of the flight, and only when a trustworthy high bird activity message is given.

Picture 2 The risk of bird strikes increases with proximity to the ground (3).

The data is already being collected – let’s use it!

Most airports have bird control staff that are already recording the bird activity, and are taking action to remove the birds from the aircraft operation area. That means that the data is already there, now we “just” need to apply it by agreeing on a definition of high bird activity.

A note here could be, that the bird activity data will be generated based on what is happening in the airport operations area, not in the surrounding areas where the aircrafts are approaching/departing. It is, however, the only data source we have in most airports.

It is fairly simple to formulate a basic equation, that could work as a basis for determining when to issue a high bird activity warning. For example:

Picture 3 Formula for determining when to issue a high bird activity warning.

The calculation could also be based on the risk level of the recorded birds (in the airport’s risk matrix), although that would require all airports to use the same risk matrix in order for the information to be standardized.

General operational response

When looking at the operational response to a “bird activity high” statement, we see following possibilities (2):

Approach:

  • Reduce speed;
  • Turn on landing lights;
  • Include in briefing;

Landing:

  • Low thrust settings;
  • No go-arounds – fly through and land;
  • If a strike occurs – do not use reverse thrust;

Take-off:

  • Include in briefing;
  • Turn on landing lights;
  • If birds are present – request them to be removed.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read the article. I look forward to receiving your feedback on this topic by sending me your thoughts at [email protected]

 

Written by Peter Hemmingsen (CEO, AscendXYZ)

 

Sources:

1: Transport Canada, Bird impact force: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/publications/tp13549-appendices-appendix12-1-410.htm
2: FLIGHT OPERATIONS BRIEFING NOTES OPERATING ENVIRONMENT BIRDSTRIKE THREAT AWARENESS: https://www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/181.pdf
3: FAA/USDA wildlife strike report: https://wildlife.faa.gov/downloads/Wildlife-Strike-Report-1990-2015.pdf
4: Boing: Strategies for prevention of bird : https://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/articles/2011_q3/4/

 

 


Peter Hemmingsen's (CEO, AscendXYZ) vision for the Danish space industry (English version)

Are we ready for the data stream from above?

Contours are forming of an industry which not only works purposefully on making data from space available but which will also have a huge transformative effect on people, societies, trade and industry. Denmark can participate too – but only if we dare to take risks and are ready to begin our effort already in the educational system.

In recent years the number of companies working with data from space has exploded. This changes our world, but at this point, you would have to be a specialist to notice.

Some possibilities are so obvious and well-known that they are almost trivial. Almost all of us have an advanced GPS receiver in our smartphones, for instance, which makes it a lot easier to locate that rented summer house in the other end of the country or perhaps just the nearest gas station. Other possibilities are only in their infancy or are yet to be discovered.

This development will only accelerate, and it will impact both the public sector, trade and industry and you. Even though you may not have realised it yet.

Finance and insurance: Satellite data to help decide the price and estimate the risk

Insurance companies will be able to easier survey the areas they insure, improve their claim management and focus their sales effort through automated and targeted analysis of satellite data. Banks can estimate a company’s turnover and value based on e.g. traffic data and the number of visitors in the company parking lot. Forestry can be priced and sold through satellite-based analyses. Not only does this provide the financial sector with more precise data, it also paves the way for truer and more accurate offers – as well as for entirely new business areas.

Food and agriculture: Autonomous machines and intelligent fertilisation

Satellite data and photos of the fields taken on-site – e.g. by drone or from a plane – are combined with algorithms to optimise the use of fertiliser. Information is transformed into detailed field maps that allow the tractors to steer themselves with the aid of satellite navigation. This increases agricultural efficiency while minimising waste and leaching of nutritional substances to the aquatic system. Such a scenario may sound like science fiction, but it is indeed becoming a reality.

Education: Satellites in class

Satellite solutions are already a part of the teaching in public schools and upper secondary schools, but we could be more ambitious. In Denmark, for instance, Sentinel Playground and Copernicus Open Access Hub can be used to turn yesterday’s photos into part of today’s teaching and inspire pupils to use data and knowledge in entirely new contexts. In a not-too-distant past, Knud Hemmingsen (my father) used a lot of research on the economy, geography, climate and more to write "Verden i temaer og tabeller" (The World in Themes and Tables) for use in public schools.

Today, pupils can follow rainforest reduction on a weekly basis or see the development of Danish rapeseed fields in May by comparing free Sentinel photos. The possibilities exist, and the potential for application is unlimited.

Fields around Roskilde Airport from May 5 to June 12

However, we need many more teachers and institutions to demonstrate the possibilities to generations entering the universities and the Danish companies. This requires active participation from the trade and industry sector, as well as the research community. New ideas, solutions, and innovation require better knowledge about available data, as well as a strong vertical understanding of individual business areas.

A critical view and special qualifications

The more companies that focus on using big data from space, the faster the need for specialist employees arises, which can turn into a bottleneck quickly – just as we experience in the IT sector today. If companies cannot recruit data scientists and software engineers, they cannot improve their business. Specialists with the right qualifications will become even more attractive, and it is with good reason that Harvard Business School proclaimed data scientist to be ”The sexiest job of the 21st century”.

There are lots of examples of how data is used already today. I recommend looking to ESA Business Applications for inspiration.

New business areas in development

Many industries focus on space data. But even though the application case may be clear, implementation is not always easy. The benefits of big data from space typically take the form of optimisations, better end-user understanding, logistical improvements and – perhaps most importantly – new products. When we combine the enormous amounts of historical and near real-time data with machine learning, new patterns and contexts emerge that were not available before. In addition, there is a variety of already existing or near-market solutions that crop up all over the world, helped along by initiatives such as the European Space Agency’s ”ARTES Applications Programme”.

Accessibility is a prerequisite for success

All the efficient solutions share one thing in common: the combination of a relatively complex concept like satellite data and a strong understanding of a specific work area, wrapped up as an accessible solution for the end user.

You could say that no one wants more data. Only results count.

As users, we do not really care how our smartphone works in detail, for instance, if we have easy access to the Internet, mail, navigation, streaming, etc. In the same way, users do not care if data are accessible somewhere if there are no solutions that make them easy to use in practice. In this area, there is a great potential for development for Danish companies in an overwhelming global market.

I have no doubt that data from space will change our everyday lives – because it is already happening. Likewise, the question is not if we will see new solutions that use big data from space – but which role Danish companies and researchers will play.

To understand how we bring about changes in companies’ and consumers’ lives, we must include them in the process. We need to include those who will be using the solutions in the development process to match our products and services to their needs. This requires us, as companies, to be able to communicate the possibilities – also to those who may not have the same professional background or who may not be able to see and understand all the exciting possibilities.

But are there as many possibilities as we think?

Yes. The possibilities are there. But they require a strong focus from the Danish trade and industry sector and research community if we are to get our share since many other countries and companies are already in the race.

Companies that develop solutions based on satellite data work for a global market. In other words, they produce knowledge-based export that we should support. In this context, we should focus on both near-market solutions and long-term research and development. Quite simply, we cannot afford not to do anything, and we need to get on the train before it picks up so much speed that we can no longer jump on board.

This will not only open possibilities of a traditional financial nature; it will also give Danish companies let help define the solutions that will revolutionise the way we perceive the world. That is not a bad target to aim for.

Written by Peter Hemmingsen, CEO at AscendXYZ.

 

You can access the Danish version at the website of the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science here and here.

 


Sharing is caring!

We are glad and proud to see that Airshare XYZ project is growing! A few months ago, we started creating monthly updates to inform all the participants about the project status, changes and last, but not least – to share interesting articles and posts from different airports and wildlife management professionals. We believe that sharing the knowledge and experiences is important to all participants, in order to get inspired, find answers or start discussions. Based on positive feedback from project participants, we decided to make these monthly updates available on our website (you can access them here).

To those of you who have not heard about the Airshare XYZ project, we introduce this project as a cross-industry collaboration between more than 13 airlines (such as AeroLogic, Air Dolomiti, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Condor, Danish Air Transport, Edelweiss Air, Lufthansa, Lufthansa CityLine, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Pegasus, Thomas Cook, Widerøe and other)  and +500 destinations. The project was initiated by Ascend in collaboration with airlines and airports, with the purpose of developing a platform to streamline and easily share safety management related questions.

So, what does it mean to participate in the Airshare XYZ project?

Upon receiving the first request from one of the airlines (flying to that destination), airports are asked to fill out the questionnaire and then approve to share the information. This project enables airports to answer "one time and in one place", and thereby avoid answering different airlines in multiple formats. Once the data is entered, the airports can share it with a new airline with a single click. When airports update the entered information, it will be automatically updated on the airlines’ subscription too.

The objective of the project is to provide airports with an understanding of what actions are being taken to reduce the presence of wildlife in other airports, and what effect they have, thereby enabling the best possible wildlife control and reduction programs in each individual airport.

You can read more about the project here.


Pizza in the sun

We have beautiful weather in Copenhagen today, and we just got super good user feedback on our Obstacle Management Module – we are celebrating with pizza in the sun before the weekend...