Speech by Director-General, CAAS for the Contract Signing Ceremony between CAAS and Stratech for iFerret, the world's first intelligent vision based foreign object detection system for runways


Dr David Chew, Executive Chairman, Stratech Systems, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon and a very warm welcome to all!

For the past 27 years since Changi Airport first started operations, we have been consistently accorded safety deficiency-free rating by the International Federation of Airline Pilot Association (IFALPA). We are proud of this achievement but cannot rest on our laurels.

For, as air traffic grows, operations will become more complex and demanding, and the risks of an unfortunate incident happening will also increase as a result. It is in this light that the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has channeled resources to perform technology scans and to involve in test-bedding of new equipment so as to enhance our methods of running the airport, especially in the areas of operational efficiency and safety.

I am pleased to see today that one of such projects has come to fruition. This is the result of a public and private sector partnership between the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Stratech Systems Limited, with the pilot trial of the project at Changi Airport jointly funded by The Enterprise Challenge (TEC) Unit of the Prime Ministerís Office (PMO).

Like most other airports, the runways at Changi are physically inspected at intervals throughout the day to check their serviceability and detect any presence of foreign objects. Currently, our daily runway inspections exceeds the frequency prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. While these inspections are timed to avoid peak periods of aircraft operation, it is still possible that aircraft using the runway may leave behind objects undetected in between inspections that could endanger other aircraft using the same runway.

iFerretTM, as the new runway foreign object detection system is called, makes use of intelligent and high resolution cameras mounted alongside the runway to provide round-the-clock automatic surveillance of the entire runway length. The system would enable any foreign object detected to be reported in real time to the Control Tower and to the Airside Safety Team to take appropriate recovery action. The successful test-bedding of this new system would pave the way for safer runway operations not only at Changi Airport but also world-wide.

With this innovation, we have a more effective way of dealing with foreign object detection that is less disruptive to aircraft operations. With this, I congratulate the iFerretTM project team for their fruitful effort and we look forward to the successful implementation of the system to improve safety and efficiency at Changi Airport.