Chattanooga Airport Partners With University of Tennessee To Improve Airport Infrastructure

(February 28, 2005) - The Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority is partnering with the University of Tennessee Knoxville's Imaging, Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS) Laboratory to research hi-tech solutions to infrastructure challenges at the Airport.

"The pavement that makes up the runways, taxiways and ramps is the most expensive capital infrastructure investment for any airport," said Mike Landguth, President and CEO of the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority. "This research could lead to new and innovative solutions for pavement management, allowing us to better predict maintenance problems and extend the useful life of our infrastructure."

Congressman Zach Wamp said, "The Chattanooga Metro Airport and UT partnership reinforces how East Tennessee's successful technology research can have tangible rewards in everyday life. As a bi-weekly traveler out of Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, I'm encouraged Chattanooga is making waves to advance transportation superiority here at home and around the world."

Dr. Mongi Abidi, Professor and Associate Department Head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee Knoxville will be leading the research team, which will explore the feasibility of using robotics to enhance the airport's capability of detecting future pavement problems. The team of student researchers will use long range laser imaging and a 3D scanner, among other technologies, to complete their work at the airport.

"The Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport provides a great opportunity for my department to apply our developing technologies in real-world applications," Dr. Abidi said. "We have created a mutually beneficial partnership that could have far-reaching impacts across multiple industries."

Joe Ferguson, CEO of Chattanooga's Enterprise Center which serves a facilitating role, said, "It is gratifying that once again Chattanooga is recognized as a major player in helping develop advanced transportation technologies. Chattanooga appears to be on its way to being known as the hub for proving new technologies in the region and our Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Management is to be commended for their foresight in helping develop a technology that could serve as a significant cost effective model for airports both nationally and internationally."

The team of UT researchers will begin their work at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport in February.