Eyes on the runway at Vancouver

Tarsier system. image courtesy Qinetiq
Tarsier system. image courtesy Qinetiq

August 10: Canada’s Vancouver International Airport is the first in the world to install a day and night camera to its existing ‘Tarsier’ Foreign Object Debris (FOD) radar detection system.
The high-resolution radar and camera work in tandem to provide continuous runway monitoring and safety, turning night into day and giving operators greater confidence and certainty about FOD hazards.
“The camera allows us to determine quickly whether the FOD is a two-inch worm or a broken zipper from a suitcase,” said Brett Patterson, Director of Airside Operations at Vancouver.
Tarsier, developed by UK company Qinetiq, ‘sweeps’ the runway around the clock. When FOD is detected, an alarm is triggered, the camera zooms in sending a live image and GPS coordinates, enabling accurate location and retrieval of the object in a matter of minutes.