The challenge for FOD detection technologies is to rapidly detect FOD and provide alerts that lead to the removal of detected FOD. At present FOD detection is based on regular inspection and monitoring of airport surfaces. The primary “sensor” is the human eye but recent technological developments have greatly expanded the capabilities of FOD detection and management. The advanced detection technologies now available improve FOD detection, including capabilities for continuous detection on runways and other aircraft movement areas and mobile detection devices to supplement the capabilities of airport personnel. There are two general designs. One design features continuous FOD detection systems that operate from a fixed location, scanning the airport surface and providing alarms or alerts to FOD presence. These designs employ radar, optical, or hybrid radar/optical sensors. The second design features a mobile detection system, using a radar sensor to enhance the capabilities of airport personnel in FOD detection during normal inspection activities. The available mobile design uses a radar sensor, although alternatives include a combined laser and radar system.
CEAT was a major partner in the development of Advisory Circular NO 150/5220-24 "Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection Equipment. In the performance assessments of FOD detection technologies the CEAT team has placed over 15,000 FOD objects on active runways (and retrieved same). A copy of the AC is available by clicking here.