Airport debris detector tops Israeli innovation list

XSight bids bye-bye to junk on runways

An XSight debris detection system (Photo credit: Courtesy)
An XSight debris detection system (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Israel’s XSight Systems, which detects runway debris that can endanger planes and passengers, has been called one of Israel’s most innovative companies by US tech magazine Fast Company. “Foreign Object Debris (FOD) costs the aviation industry around $13 billion per year,” and is a major safety risk, Fast Company wrote about XSight, naming it one of the top 10 Israeli innovators for 2013. The XSight system “has emerged as one of the leading solutions, using hybrid radar and electro-optical technology to detect junk on runways,” the magazine wrote.

XSight’s premier product, FODetect, uses hybrid radar and electro-optical technology to detect junk on runways, with units installed together with runway lights, ensuring that all parts of the runway are constantly monitored. When debris is detected, the control tower is alerted and can contact the pilots and hold up flights as necessary. The system’s GPS, meanwhile, alerts ground crew to exactly where the debris is located, enabling them to quickly remove it without holding up flights.

Runway debris is a serious safety issue in the airline business, and has been responsible for damage to aircraft and even crashes. One of the most well-known instances of an FOD-related tragedy occurred in 2000, when an Air France Concorde supersonic plane caught fire, exploded, and crashed into a hotel within minutes of takeoff. All passengers and crew on the flight were killed, as were some hotel employees, with a death toll of 113.

The reason for the crash? A 17-inch metal strip that fell off a plane that had taken off minutes before. The pilot didn’t see it — he was too high off the ground. The ground crew missed it, too, and as a result, over 100 people lose their lives.

According to Alon Nitzan, president & CEO of XSight Systems, the the product has helped enhance safety at the airports where it is installed, including Boston Logan, Charles de Gaulles in Paris, Ben Gurion Airport and others.

“We take pride in being on this honorable list, beyond that we are happy to contribute to the state of innovation in the world’s economy driven by the aviation industry. XSight innovative Runway Management Solution provides leading airports with improved runway safety, increased runway capacity and enhanced operational efficiency,” said Nitzan. “The company will continue to develop its innovative technology to deliver crucial benefits to airport operators and answer growing needs.”

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