The Chicago Department of Aviation is installing ADB Safegate’s Safedock Advanced Visual Docking Guidance Systems (A-VDGS) at O’Hare’s Terminal 5.

The deal comes amid a large-scale expansion project at Terminal 5, aimed at improving efficiency and reducing delays. The project is expected to increase gate capacity by 25%, adding ten new gates and upgrading existing gates to accommodate larger aircraft. ADB Safegate was awarded the contract by electrical contractor, Gurtz Electric Co.

Airport operator the Chicago Department of Aviation first installed 16 Safedock A-VDGS on Terminal 5 gates in 2016, replacing older technology. The new contract includes 20 additional Safedock systems.

“Existing ADB Safegate units previously installed at Terminal 5 over the past few years were very warmly received by our airline community. An automated system like Safedock ensures safe, precise and efficient aircraft parking, which can even potentially assist with avoiding delays as well as ground incidents,” said Chris Diaferio, executive director at Chicago Airlines Terminal Consortium.

To maximise capacity, the Terminal 5 gates will utilise a MARS (Multiple Apron Ramp System) configuration to accommodate one wide-body aircraft or be easily converted to two narrow-body positions.

The 3D technology in the Safedock systems scans the gate area vertically and horizontally to measure and track the aircraft, ensuring flexibility and aircraft-gate compatibility during the docking process. The ability to scan horizontally reduces the number of A-VDGS needed at each gate to accommodate the multiple parking positions, compared to systems that only scan vertically. Safedock A-VDGS guide pilots to self-park aircraft accurately and safely for all gate layouts and under nearly all operating conditions, including low visibility. Automation reduces chances for error, parking time and fuel emissions, according to ADB Safegate. 

Chicago O’Hare was the third busiest airport in the US in 2019 when the Terminal 5 expansion project began. The project is part of O’Hare 21, Chicago’s vision for a modern airport that will be an efficient and accessible international gateway to the world.