11.4: Surveillance systems
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The technical means included under the term aeronautical surveillance fulfill a mission of providing real-time information over the position of the aircraft to ATC function, i.e., controllers, with the aim of ensuring safety by properly separating them and avoiding thus any potential conflict. The surveillance has been traditionally (and still is nowadays) carried out in the different control dependences as shown in Figure 10.10, i.e., Area Control Centers (ACC) centers, Approximation (APP) dependences, and Control Tower (TWR), using the radar. However, within the use of satellite communications, most likely Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADSB) will be replacing (sooner rather than later) radar as the primary surveillance method for controlling aircraft worldwide. ADSB will increase the situational awareness of pilots with cockpit displays, enabling them more autonomy in self-separation. There are also airborne systems that fulfill a surveillance function. That is the case of the Traffic Collision Avoidance System or Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System (both abbreviated as TCAS), which acts as an automatic advisory back-up system in case of imminent threat, i.e., when the human-based ATC layer has failed.