ADB SAFEGATE introduces CORTEX SAFE-r, its new fully integrated Runway Status Lights System

World ATM Congress; Stand 1135
Madrid, Spain
June 21, 2022

RWSL: The primary defense against runway incursions

ADB SAFEGATE announced today the launch of CORTEX SAFE-r, its newest Runway Status Lights solution, which brings to the market the only RWSL processor with light switching capability, and that operates in conjunction with the new AXON EQ lights. 

After participating in the successful, multi-year RWSL project initiated by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2008, ADB SAFEGATE has started a new era for RWSL technology with CORTEX SAFE-r, which combines the RWSL logic with the RWSL Field Lighting System (FLS).  

CORTEX SAFE-r is an entirely independent system that offers immediate and reliable light activation when used with the latest ADB SAFEGATE LINC 360 technology. This integrated approach reduces light activation time and allows ADB SAFEGATE to fully control the system performance, making it the only solution in the market provided by one single party.  

“Since 2008, the Runway Status Lights system has proven to be the most effective solution to keep the airfield safe. This is why we decided to invest further in this technology and provide our customers with CORTEX SAFE-r, the safest, most advanced solution in the market,” said Airfield Business Line VP Regardt Willer. “Together with our AXON EQ lights, SAFE-r RWSL will guarantee an immediate and automatic response to any potentially unsafe situation on the runway.” 

This new ADB SAFEGATE RWSL solution provides additional safety, above the standard clearances, stop bar activation and A-SMGCS safety nets while simultaneously reducing intervention time, which is critical to ensure that accidents do not occur. The solution is scalable and can be tailored based on airport operations and airport hot spots. 

How CORTEX SAFE-r RWSL solution works 

CORTEX SAFE-r is a fully automated safety system based on red lights embedded in the pavement of runways and runway-taxiway intersections. These lights automatically warn pilots and vehicle operators if it is unsafe to cross, enter or begin a take-off on a runway. The lights provide direct, instant alerts to the taxiing crew, require no input from controllers and do not interfere with airport operations.  

The system comprises two main types of lights: Runway Entrance Lights (RELs) at the taxiway and runway crossings that illuminate when it is unsafe to enter or cross a runway; and Take-off Hold Lights (THLs) at the runway by the departure hold zone. These light up when an aircraft is poised for departure and the runway is occupied by another aircraft or vehicle and unsafe for take-off.   

The CORTEX SAFE-r solution includes the new RWSL Processor, which receives surveillance data from the airport surveillance and operates directly with the RELs and THLs. The RELs and THLs comprise LED lights and ILCMS (Individual Light Control and Monitoring System) technology embedded in the pavement of runways and taxiways. The switching of REL and THL lights is fully automated and driven by the system without any intervention from air traffic controllers.  

CORTEX SAFE-r consists of the following components: 

  • Dual CORTEX SAFE-r RWSL Processing 
  • Maintenance Position 
  • ATC Control Panel 
  • AGL Substation Equipment 
  • AXON EQ Inset Lights (RELs, THLs) 
  • Physical Kill Switch (optional) 

Mode of operation: 

  • The system can be used in any visibility condition and independently from the operational category of the runway 
  • Red RWSL (ON) means stop 
  • OFF RWSL does not mean clearance to proceed 
  • Under no circumstances should pilots or operators be instructed to “cross the red lights”  
  • In the event of doubts, the system can be switched OFF using a kill switch provided to the Air Traffic Controller 
  • Although an ATC control panel is provided, there is no need for ATC personnel to actively monitor the system