After three years of research, Creotech Instruments, the leader of the consortium, has announced the successful completion of the SAMPLE project. This project has resulted in the development of a comprehensive system for the automatic detection and monitoring of aerial obstacles near airports and airstrips, in compliance with ICAO standards. SAMPLE(which stands for Polish System Automatycznego Monitorowania Przeszkód Lotniczych, Automatic Aerial Obstacle Detection and Logging System), combines satellite data with information collected from unmanned aerial vehicles, visual cameras, and LiDAR scanning to provide a unique solution for real-time monitoring and detection of airspace obstacles. This system can enhance aviation safety and be used by airport, airstrip, and vertiport operators, as well as local government and state administration bodies. Worth approximately PLN 17.5m, SAMPLE was developed in collaboration with the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA) and AP-Tech Sp. z o.o.
“The SAMPLE project is not only an innovative solution on a global scale, but also a testament to Creotech Instruments’ leadership capabilities in the industry. Throughout three years of dedicated work and in partnership with PANSA and AP-Tech, we have created a tangible solution that is now entering the commercialization phase. The project presented significant technological, administrative, and legal challenges, but we were able to complete it according to our initial plans and timelines, achieving all the objectives we set,” said Piotr Mazur, Project Manager at Creotech Instruments S.A.
One of the system’s key features is its ability to automatically generate data about aerial obstacles and terrain configuration using high-resolution satellite imagery (Earth Observation), data from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), LiDAR scan point clouds, and fixed visual cameras. In addition to providing an electronic Terrain and Obstacle Database (eTOD) based on photogrammetric methods, the system also facilitates ongoing air traffic analysis and automatic detection of obstacle-related incidents.
“Creotech has already established its high competence in space and quantum solution areas. However, this project demonstrates our capability to manage complex Earth Observation projects as well. SAMPLE exemplifies the practical application of satellite data for enhancing safety in both manned and unmanned aviation. Satellite imagery provides up-to-date, reliable information about existing and emerging aerial obstacles, making our solution exceptionally beneficial. The system addresses the main drawbacks of traditional aerial obstacle monitoring methods, which are mostly manual and field-based. We are now launching the commercialization phase of this product, exploring its business potential with end-users in the aviation industry,” stated Grzegorz Brona, PhD, President of the Management Board (CEO) of Creotech Instruments S.A.
The system will offer comprehensive tracking of aviation obstacles, including during landing approaches and deviations from the approved approach path. It can detect objects potentially hazardous to aircraft operations and continuously monitor objects for potential changes in their location or dimensions, such as height. This solution is of interest to the wide-ranging aviation industry, one of the world’s largest markets.
SAMPLE will leverage proprietary algorithms and machine learning methods based on neural networks to provide superior data processing and object classification capabilities. Obstacle data will be used in an advanced analytical module, enabling risk assessment and incident monitoring and notification thanks to a real-time air traffic monitoring feature integrated into the system.
SAMPLE has no geographical restrictions, meaning it can be deployed anywhere globally. With the growing availability of high-resolution satellite data, applying this solution is becoming increasingly straightforward and cost-effective.
The advanced software developed for air traffic supervision meets the rigorous standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization and offers extensive application possibilities.
The SAMPLE project received funding from the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR). The total project value was approximately PLN 17.5m, with the funding provided amounting to about PLN 12.7m.