Saab has designed a digital air traffic control center (top) that harkens back to 18th-19th century cycloramas, such as the Panorama Mesdag (above), which is still in its original location at The Hague. Saab's remote air traffic control tower (r-TWR) would eliminate the need for the traditional windowed towers high above airport terminals. From Smithsonian:
In the r-TWR system, a low-cost mast supports a small platform containing fixed HD cameras that capture a full 360-degree view of an airfield, while a separate remote-control camera offers pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities. Additional tower systems include signal flares, climate sensors, radar systems, and automated hazard detection—all in a relatively small and relatively cheap package. The data collected by the experimental digital tower is live-streamed to an off-site facility where an operator sits at the center of a ring of digital screens displaying live feeds of any r-TWR equipped airport. In many ways, these remote operators have access to more information than their local counterparts. Other than the capabilities to zoom-in with the PTZ camera, the remote system is equipped with infra-red vision, image enhancement, and real-time object tracking software that functions like an augmented reality overlay to assist during low visibility conditions. The r-TWR offers more more reality than reality.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.