Airport surface surveillance using differential GPS and the Mode S data link
June 6, 1994
A new concept for providing surface surveillance of aircraft and ground vehicles has recently been tested at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts. This concept, known as GPS-Squitter, combines the capabilities of differential GPS for navigation with those of the Mode S data link for communications. Together these systems provide accurate surveillance data along with a positive identification of surface traffic, both very important for an effective surface meillance system. The GPS-Squitter concept is based on the use of the Mode S squitter. The current squitter is a 56bit Mode S all-call reply message spontaneously broadcast by all aircraft Mode S transponders at a 1Hz rate. This message provides the unique Mode S address of an aircrsft and is used by TCAS (Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System) for acquisition of nearby aircraft. In the Hanscom testing, this squitter was extended to include GPS-based surveillance information. Two target vehicles participated in the experiments - one aircraft and one ground vehicle. They determined their position, heading, and speed using differential GPS and automatically broadcast that surveillance information to ground transmit/receive stations using the modified squitter. Differential GPS pseudorange and pseudorange rate corrections were formed by a reference station located at Hanscom Field and were transmitted by the ground transmit receive stations to the target vehicles. This paper describes the configuration of the target vehicles, the ground transmit/receive stations, and the differential GPS reference station. Results of the surface surveillance testing are provided including: system coverage, surveillance update rate, and differential GPS data quality. Ongoing testing at Logan International Airport is also discussed.