Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast System

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast System

Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast is a new technology in the aviation industry that is set to replace radar in air traffic control and surveillance world wide. Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast is one of the key projects in the development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System. This is an ambitious project aimed at improving the standards of air operations and infrastructure. ADS-B improves aircraft safety by enabling the visibility of an airplane to the air traffic control in addition to other airplanes equipped with the same ADS-B system. This air traffic control system also record accurate flight data capturing aspects such as the velocity, position and weather information. This provides useful information that can be analyzed after an airplane has landed. The ADS-B system also enables accurate flight tracking, dispatching and planning through the provision of crucial data (U.S Department of Transportation, 2005).

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The ADS-B system basically enables efficient communication between airplanes and the traffic control on the ground, and between airplanes. This system was mainly developed to improve air safety by reducing the burden placed on air traffic control due to increase in the number of planes. The ADS-B system is different from the radar which normally works by broadcasting radio waves. On the contrary the ADS-B system uses GNSS (global navigation satellite system) as the major broadcasting component. This system is works better than radar because its accuracy is not affected by the distance of an airplane, altitude, or weather. In addition, the mechanism through which the ADS-B system uses to transmit information and data does not depend on antennae like the radar (Federal Aviation Administration, 2007).

The ADS-B system is a cost effective technology as compared to radar. This is because the cost of implementing and operating ADS-B systems cost much less than the cost incurred in implementing and maintaining radars. The use of ADS-B system in air traffic control is beneficial because this system requires very little power to run as opposed to radar. This fact enables ADS-B systems to be installed in very remote areas. In 2009 Australia was the first country that had a full installation of ADS-B system and it had twenty eight ADS-B stations country wide. The ADS-B systems is important to the next generation air transport system because it is the key project which will enable the realization of efficiency in air traffic control which is the main objective of next generation air transport system (Vigier, 2011).

The ADS-B system is also important to the next generation air transport system because it will address the challenges currently faced by the aviation industry. The aviation industry in the U.S and other parts of the world is currently faced by an increase in air traffic due to increase in demand for air transport. This has made the united state to embark on developing the NextGen (next generation air transport system) which will improve the efficiency of air traffic control through the ADS-B system. The ADS-B system will enable airplanes to adjust to changes in weather conditions with ease, avoid traffic congestion and improve the security in the aviation industry. It is projected that by 2025 all the airports in the U.S will be using ADS-B system which will enable efficient sharing of data and information, improve security and solve the problem of congestion in air traffic control. This new technology in air traffic control will enable continuous descent in the future and provide information which will enable pilots to accurately assess situations and avoid traffic (Boyer, 2005).

Generally the benefits of ADS-B system to the next generation air transport system will include reduced cost of controlling air traffic, improved efficiency, enable situational awareness and make air transport more secure by providing crucial information and data that can be used to tackle potential security threats.

Traffic Information Service – Broadcast (TIS-B) and Flight Information Service – Broadcast (FIS-B)

            On top of the services and benefits of the ADS-B system mentioned above, the ADS-B system can be utilized in the provision of various broadcast services like FIS-B and TIS-B. TIS-B enables the transmission of relevant traffic information to all airplanes covered by the air traffic control system. This information normally enables pilots to conduct accurate situational awareness. TIS-B is used to transmit information to airplanes which are not connected to the ADS-B system. TIS-B terrestrial station performs this function by transmitting information related to the position of other airplanes to airplanes which are not equipped with ADS-B systems. In addition, this system also enables airplanes equipped with ADS-B systems to freely communicate with planes which do not have ADS-B system (U.S Government, 2011).

FIS-B transmits information related to weather condition such as weather graphics and weather text. FIS-B system differs from the ADS-B system in one major way in that FIS-B system uses transmits data which is obtained from external sources i.e. sources outside the broadcasting unit. This system enhances sharing of information between controllers and pilots a factor which improves aircraft safety both on the ground and in the cockpit. However, these two systems of broadcasting still have some limitations because the information they provide regarding traffic cannot be used to completely avoid airplane collusion; and therefore, pilots are still expected to be vigilant and avoid other airplanes. Instead these aviation technologies only assist pilots to see other airplanes and cannot be used to avoid collusion with visible airplanes (Federal Aviation Administration, 2000).

Benefits of ADS-B

            The main benefit of ADS-B system is that it makes the process of flying to be safer for different players in the aviation industry. This system enables controller and pilots to access the same information on radar. This system is more beneficial than TCAS (traffic alert and collision avoidance system) which enabled pilots to view only airplanes fitted with TCAS technology. The new ADS-B technology enables airplanes to receive information via ADS-B In which shows all airplanes in that particular region including airplanes which are not connected to the ADS-B system (Mitre Innovation Program, 2011).

The other benefits of ADS-B system of air traffic control is that this technology accurately identify the position of an airplane compared to the radar system. The second benefit of this technology can be viewed in terms of cost. It is reported that the cost of implementing and maintaining ADS-B system is significantly cheaper than that of radar. This implies that this technology will enable airplanes to fly at a relatively closely distance to one another due to improved awareness. This will solve the problem of congestion in the air space (Harvard Kennedy School, 2010).



Boyer, P. (2005).Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association: Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). Accessed from web January, 30, 2012

Federal Aviation Administration. (2000). Automatic dependent surveillance–Broadcast:

Quarterly technical letter for period 1 April 2000 through 30 June 2000. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lincoln Laboratory.

Federal Aviation Administration. (2007). Fact Sheet-Next Generation Air Transportation System 2006 Progress Report. Accessed from web January, 30, 2012

Harvard Kennedy School. (2010). Ash Center for Democratic Governance: Assuring the Transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System a New Strategy for Networked Governance. January, 30, 2012

Mitre Innovation Program. (2011). Research Challenge: The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Accessed from web January, 30, 2012

U.S Government. (2011). Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast/Cockpit Display of Traffic Information: Innovations in Aircraft Navigation on the Airport Surface. General Books LLC: Springfield, Va.

U.S Department of Transportation. (2005). Air Traffic Bulletin. Accessed from web January, 30, 2012

Vigier, C. (2011). Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) Surveillance development for Air Traffic Management. Accessed from web January, 30, 2012

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