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Saab Global

New Airport Operations Technology Lifts Off from Saab-Purdue University Collaboration

2 min read + Video

An ongoing partnership between Saab, Ericsson, and Purdue University will transform aviation and airport safety operations. 


In 2023, Purdue University opened its Open Innovation Platform (OIP) at Purdue University Airport, a testbed for aviation and airport operation, in collaboration with Saab, Ericsson and the Purdue Research Foundation. At the OIP, researchers utilize Saab’s cooperative surveillance, incident management and collaborative decision-making tools combined with Ericsson's secure and reliable private network solutions. The result is technological advancements that will help advance the safety, security and efficiency of air travel around the globe. 

The partnership between Saab, Purdue, and Ericsson is a natural fit with Purdue and Saab’s combined legacy of aviation innovation. While the lab at Purdue University Airport has been open for just over a year, it is already delivering results. 

The OIP is focused on addressing airports' operational and technical challenges due to rapid air traffic volume growth and evolving technological risks. One challenge is how airports can better address unauthorized drones (UAS) near active runways, taxiways and adjacent airspace.

In addition to safety risks, drone incursions can disrupt airport operations and result in costly downtime for airports and airlines.


To address this challenge, Saab researchers at the OIP deployed a solution based on its flagship incident response platform, SAFE. The new technology enables coordinated and proportional responses to drone-related disruption.

The new SAFE capability combines Saab’s Aerobahn suite with Ericsson’s 5G network and devices from the company’s frequent partner, Zebra Technology.  SAFE’s new application will ensure that key players can always stay connected. Additionally, the streamlined process allows for drone incidents to be resolved in a more organized and efficient way to increase safety and decrease the impact of any potential shutdown. 

The OIP is a landmark in collaboration across industry and academia, generating state-of-the-art solutions that will improve the safety of air travel around the world,” said Sarah Schoof, vice president and general manager of Surveillance Systems.  “The new SAFE platform update is the first of many advancements we anticipate arising from the collaboration.”

Saab is dedicated to developing innovations to make air travel safer and more efficient through ongoing collaboration with partners like Ericsson and Purdue University, always working to keep people and society safe.