UPS Develops New Technology To Change Air Travel

(LOUISVILLE, KY) -- A new way to fly is taking off in Kentucky. The United Parcel Service air fleet, based in Louisville, has just started test-piloting new technology that should make the skies safer and friendlier for all of us.

Welcome to Louisville International Airport. Believe it or not, it's one of the busiest airports in America because UPS's so-called 'World Port' is here. The shipping giant produces 60 percent of the flights that go in and out of Louisville, each one of them carrying your packages. But now, some are carrying a special package that could change air travel forever.

With so much coming and going, nearly 150 UPS planes in and out of Louisville every day, it's like a regular highway in the sky here.

But now, some of these planes are carrying something that'll make the sky like a regular highway, period.

It's called Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast -- ADS-B, for short. A computerized collection of triangles and dots, it's set to reshape air travel.

"For us, the bottom line is efficiency. We have to get as many planes in and out of here very night as we can within a defined window," says Mike Mangeot with UPS.

For more than 15 years, Mike Mangeot's worked with UPS.

For more than 10, his company's worked to help develop ADS-B.

It's a revolutionary satellite tracking system.

"Every plane has what's known as a transponder. And it gives off a signal, and what it says is, every single second, it says, 'I am here, I am here, I am here,'" says Mangeot.

Installed in planes, it communicates with GPS devices in space, and gives pilots a real-time look at traffic in the sky, knd of like the way drivers can see other cars on the road.

"You know exactly where the plane is in the air and on the ground, at all times. And that's something that traditional air traffic management systems have not been able to track," says Mangeot.

The bottom line -- it should make air travel safer, faster and even better for the environment.

"We can get in a lot more planes a lot sooner, process packages a lot sooner," says Mangeot.

Assuming all things go well, by the year 2020, the FAA says all planes, not just UPS planes, have to have these devices on board. The idea being that it won't just be your packages getting their safer and better. You will be, too. Derek Scott