Detection of Runway and Obstacles using Electro-optical and Infrared Sensors before Landing

  • Satish Kumar Vegula National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore
  • S. K. Kashyap National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore
  • N. Shanthakumar National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore
Keywords: Horizon detection, runway search, runway detection, edge detection, template matching, hough transform


For safe aircraft operations, detection of runway incursions especially during landing and takeoff is essential. And it is important that such detection technique is capable of detecting the distant objects so that pilot has enough response time to take corrective action. This paper presents techniques to detect runway and runway incursions using electro-optical color camera and medium wave infrared sensor on-board the aircraft during approach for landing. The detection process consists of horizon detection to reduce runway search space in sensor image and then detect runway and obstacles. The information is then presented to the pilot to improve pilot situational awareness. The performance of the proposed techniques are evaluated in flight simulators with simulated images of electro-optical and infrared sensors on-board the aircraft during approach for landing at a distance of 3 nautical miles from runway threshold during day/night and in low visibility CAT II foggy conditions. Effectiveness of the techniques with statistics of runway detection, miss detection and false alarm for different case studies have been provided and discussed.

Defence Science Journal, Vol. 64, No. 1, January 2014, DOI:10.14429/dsj.64.2765

Author Biographies

Satish Kumar Vegula, National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore
Mr Satish Kumar V received his BTech (Electronic and Communication Engineering) in 2008 and MTech (Signals and System Processing) in 2011 from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University. He is currently working as a software engineer with Quest-Global Technologies in Bangalore. His current research interest includes target detection, classification and image processing.
S. K. Kashyap, National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore
Dr Sudesh K. Kashyap obtained his ME (Electrical Engineering) from M.S. University of Baroda, Gujarat, in 1999 and PhD (Electrical and Electronics Engineering) from University of Mysore, Karnataka, in 2008. Presently, he is working at CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore as Principal Scientist. His areas of interest include Kalman filtering, multi sensor data fusion, fuzzy logic, Bayesian theory, neural network and image processing.
N. Shanthakumar, National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore
Mr N. Shantha Kumar obtained his MTech (Aerospace Engineering) from IIT Bombay in 1987. Presently he is working in Flight Mechanics and Control Division of CSIR-National Aerospace laboratories (NAL). His areas of interest include Multi sensor data fusion, Kalman filtering, target tracking and integrated enhanced and synthetic vision system. He is a life member of Aeronautical Society of India.
How to Cite
Vegula, S., Kashyap, S., & Shanthakumar, N. (2014). Detection of Runway and Obstacles using Electro-optical and Infrared Sensors before Landing. Defence Science Journal, 64(1), 67-76.
Electronics & Communication Systems