Research & Development

JAXA promotes three research and development programs and a fundamental research program that underpins them.

WEATHER-Eye (WEATHER-Endurance Aircraft Technology to Hold, Evade and Recover by Eye) technology

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JAXA begins demonstration tests on snow and ice monitoring sensors

Demonstration tests on snow and ice monitoring sensors, which JAXA has led the way in researching and developing, have begun at Kitami Institute of Technology (Kitami, Hokkaido) in December 2016. For the tests, researchers have created outdoor, underground installations of the sensors to demonstrate the technology's ability to detect the thickness and quality of the snow that accumulates on the glass covering the sensors. By illuminating snow or ice with laser light, the sensors measure the accumulation, density, and other characteristics of the target substances. The observations from the sensors will enable airports to predict runway slipperiness, notify pilots accordingly, and implement snow-removal measures at the optimal times by detecting snow accumulation thickness. (See FLIGHT PATH No. 11/12 for more information.)

After conducting tests through the end of FY2017, JAXA is planning to start installing snow and ice monitoring sensors under road surfaces in Hokkaido after FY2018. Researchers will then begin demonstration testing on the road installations to evaluate sensor operations.

Researchers install a snow and ice monitoring sensor

Researchers install a snow and ice monitoring sensor

March 24, 2017