Wikitude, a provider of an Augmented Reality (AR) software development kit (SDK), has recently published that it has collaborated with Air bp on its ‘Airfield Automation safe2go’ AR-enabled fuel decal recognition platform.
Air bp is the aviation division of the multinational oil and gas company bp, and is a leading supplier of aviation fuel products and services. In 2019, the company supplied over 6.7 billion gallons of aviation fuel, fuelling over 7,000 flights per day at over 700 locations in more than 55 countries – more than five planes a minute.
One challenge that Air bp is faced with is that of misfuellings, wherein the wrong type of fuel is delivered into an aircraft, which can have fatal consequences, potentially costing human lives. According to Wikitude, despite taking care to use selective fuel-grade nozzles and extensive operator training, Air bp considers the misfuelling challenge too great not to try to drastically improve it.
In order to tackle this challenge, Air bp worked with Wikitude to implement the use of Augmented Reality technology for AR-enabled fuel decal recognition, as part of its ‘no decal, no fuel’ policy.
Air bp’s Airfield Automation safe2go is a cloud-based platform that consolidates all the data associated with Air bp’s refuelling operations. The solution actively helps prevent misfuelling by verifying requirements via an app on a handheld device in the fuelling vehicle. However, despite thorough training for operators, the human error factor is always present and poses a significant risk.
As a result, the team behind the Airfield Automation safe2go solution looked for a way to recognize fuel-grade labels (decals) next to the fuelling orifice on the tank, without modifying the planes’ construction. A prototype was then rolled out and tested in over 40 airports around the world.
The two main criteria for the solution included:
- The technology must never give the wrong grade of fuel (a “false positive” reading) as it’s a safety-critical application;
- A high success rate for being able to recognize a decal to fulfill the purpose of the application.
Wikitude stated that after many trials, its AR Image Tracking feature that recognizes patterns proved to be the most reliable solution and allowed the whole project to proceed as a safety-critical application.
Wikitude’s Image Tracking allows AR apps to detect, track, and augment 2D images. The Wikitude AR library works with up to 1,000 images that can be recognized offline and with thousands of target images hosted in the cloud. The company stated: “This AR feature is ideal for recognizing and augmenting safety verification protocols, streamlining instruction delivery, spatially placing data, and more.”
Furthermore, there is also a benefit to capturing data in real-time, and what used to take almost two days to get data from an airport into Air bp’s invoicing system now comes through straight away in real-time.
According to Wikitude, Air bp’s Airfield Automation (AA) solution is now live at 322 airports in 28 countries across 4 continents. 496 vehicles at 126 airports are equipped with the AA safe2go app, which is powered by Wikitude’s AR Image Tracking technology.
For more information on Wikitude and its AR SDK, please visit the company’s website.
Image credit: Wikitude / Air bp