ADB SAFEGATE to provide automated aircraft parking on new Terminal 5 gates at Chicago O’ Hare International Airport

Chicago, Illinois, USA
March 8, 2022

Safedock advanced visual docking guidance systems will manage complex gate layouts with safe, precise and efficient aircraft docking

The Chicago Department of Aviation is installing ADB SAFEGATE’s Safedock Advanced Visual Docking Guidance Systems (A-VDGS) to ensure safe and precise aircraft parking on Terminal 5 gates at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). The deal comes amid a large-scale expansion project at Terminal 5, aimed at improving efficiency and reducing delays. The project is expected to increase gate capacity by 25%, adding 10 new gates and upgrading existing gates to accommodate larger aircraft. ADB SAFEGATE was awarded the contract by electrical contractor, Gurtz Electric Co.

In 2016, the Chicago Department of Aviation first installed 16 Safedock A-VDGS on Terminal 5 gates in place of older technology. Terminal operator, Chicago Airlines Terminal Consortium (CATCo), which manages the gates and ramp staff at Terminal 5, have utilized the Safedock A-VDGS technology since 2016. The new contract includes 20 additional Safedock systems.

“Existing ADB SAFEGATE units previously installed at Terminal 5 over the past few years were very warmly received by our airline community. An automated system like Safedock ensures safe, precise and efficient aircraft parking, which can even potentially assist with avoiding delays as well as ground incidents,” said Chris Diaferio, Executive Director at Chicago Airlines Terminal Consortium (CATCo). “ADB SAFEGATE has been a good partner for us at O’Hare, making it effortless to voice our approval of Safedock A-VDGS for the new gates at Terminal 5.”

To maximize capacity, the Terminal 5 gates will utilize a MARS (Multiple Apron Ramp System) configuration to accommodate one wide-body aircraft or be easily converted to two narrow-body positions. During the competitive bid process, the Safedock A-VDGS were found to be the best solution for the challenging gate designs.

The 3D technology in the Safedock systems scans the gate area vertically and horizontally to measure and track the aircraft, ensuring flexibility and aircraft-gate compatibility during the docking process. The ability to scan horizontally reduces the number of A-VDGS needed at each gate to accommodate the multiple parking positions, compared to systems that only scan vertically. Safedock A-VDGS guide pilots to self-park aircraft accurately and safely for all gate layouts and under nearly all operating conditions, including low visibility. Automation reduces chances for error, parking time and fuel emissions.

“We are pleased that the City of Chicago has once again put their trust in ADB SAFEGATE.” said Doug Woehler, Director of Sales, Gate Systems & Strategic Accounts North America for ADB SAFEGATE. “With the Safedock systems in place on all Terminal 5 gates, the airport is well positioned to expand automation at the gate with a complete apron management solution utilizing AI and advanced analytics to further streamline the turnaround process,” he added.

ADB SAFEGATE has a long history at O’Hare. It has supplied airfield lighting, power systems and control and monitoring solutions, including airfield lighting for the airport’s new 9C runway and associated taxiways. American Airlines has been using Safedock A-VDGS on their gates at O’Hare since 2010.

Chicago O’Hare was the third busiest airport in the US in 2019 when the Terminal 5 expansion project began. The project is part of O’Hare 21, Chicago’s vision for a modern airport that will be an efficient and accessible international gateway to the world.