RE: New technology coming down the pike
I received an email from the CEO of the company developing the transceiver chip set. At present evaluation kits are only allocated to their stratigic partners, but he expects that a second batch will be available later this year.
As far as update rates required, I don't think we need anything as fast as you are suggesting Gary. Human reaction time is in the 150-200 mSec range, which doesn't matter so much to the pilot, but is pretty tough on a flagger. Anybody that ever spent much time at pylon one (back in the old days of setting at the pylon) will tell of airplanes that looked like they would round the pylon so the signal would be sent but a sudden unexpected tightening of the turn caused a cut.
Since RF signals travel at about 1 foot every nanosecond, a round trip signal for 600 feet is only 1.2 micro-seconds plus processing time of the transceivers. In that brief time, a Q40 will only travel about 0.004 inches. So a system might have a transceiver in each model, and three transceivers on the ground to pinpoint each airplane in 3 diamentional space, assuming that each transceiver can be tasked to measure the distance to multiple transceivers in rapid succession. At this point I have no information on how fast they really are, though having a GHz bandwidth involved, they might be fairly fast if enough power is available. Anyway, we should know more in the next six months.
Besides running an automated course, it should be able to keep a detailed plot of the track of each airplane, as well as ground speeds, altitudes, and airspace boundary violations. Of course, it all boils down to software if the hardware pans out.