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After closely examining performance, reliability, power consumption and other areas, we selected the Quadro Series. It was absolutely necessary that the Kansai International Airport system be able to operate continuously 24 hours a day, and the Quadro Series was the solution that we could rely on for this environment.

TechnoBrain Representative Director Tsuyoshi Adachi

 
Science & Education
 

The Challenge

Airports are busy places, but most of what goes on is outside the view of passengers and the public. Where are the airplanes going that are taking off right in front of you and where are the airplanes that are going to arrive soon? Aviation fans and those picking up and dropping off passengers gather at airport observation decks to watch airplanes take off and land on the runways in front of them, but they only see a small part of the air traffic control pattern and identifying individual aircraft is nearly impossible. And most of the people working to ensure that planes take off and land safely and on time work out of sight of the public.

To give the public an appreciation of where the air traffic is at any given moment and what it takes to keep the flights safe and on time, Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan wanted to provide a service that used 3D graphics to show observers in real time the location and status of airplanes heading to and taking off from the airport and a service that gave the public an appreciation of those who worked at the airport.

The 4,000 meter-long, No. 2 runway at Kansai International entered into service on August 2, 2007, making Kansai International the first airport in Japan to provide full, 24-hour-a-day operations. In conjunction with the startup of services on the No. 2 runway, the airport also began offering the two new services, one in the observation hall that used 3D graphics to show airplane takeoffs and landings and one that was a simulation game of airport occupations.

The company responsible for developing these systems was TechnoBrain Co., Ltd. TechnoBrain also develops and markets the I Am an Air Traffic Controller series of 3D games that simulate air traffic control operations. The company has strong ties with the airline industry and the 40 airlines that take off and land at Kansai International on a regular basis. Based on this know-how, TechnoBrain embarked on the development of systems that would display the locations and status of arriving and departing flights and that would entertain and educate the public on what it was like to work in an airport.

The Solution

In the development of the systems, TechnoBrain obtained permission from of Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to use air traffic control radars to feed the system data. Aircraft within a 90 km range around Kansai International are precisely plotted on a 3D map. The 3D renderer used to create the graphics is Pegasus 3D, a tool developed by TechnoBrain. This renderer, which is also used in the I Am an Air Traffic Controller series, renders a map of the area around the airplane using up to 60,000 polygons and displays information such as the flight numbers of the targeted airplane and the departure and destination airports.

The system uses NVIDIA Quadro graphic boards. "The high reliability of the Quadro Series was essential for this system because stopping is unacceptable", says TechnoBrain’s Director Tsuyoshi Adachi Since going online, the system has displayed takeoff and landing status nonstop, 24-hours-a-day.

TechnoBrain also used Quadro GPUs in the second, amusement system. The games simulate what it is like to work for an airline. The games act as a bridge between the airline industry and society.

The Impact

This air traffic system, which uses 3D graphics to show airplanes taking off and landing at the airport, is extremely popular among those waiting to greet arrivals. They can see exactly where the approaching plane is at any given moment.

And the amusement system that simulates the occupations that support the airline industry is similarly popular. During holidays and other busy travel periods, people form long lines to play the games, having fun and learning about the airline industry at the same time. This 3D graphic entertainment system acts as a bridge between the airline industry and society.

Both systems rely on NVIDIA Quadro GPUs for stunning graphics and reliable operation.