San Diego Business Journal Gateway, AOL Join Forces in Internet Venture

San Diego's Orincon Corp. is taking off with a new technology designed to make airport runways safer.

Introducing the Ground Safety Tracking and Reporting System (GSTARS), a revolutionary vehicle tracking and alert technology.

The system allows air traffic controllers to monitor and direct ground traffic, including airplanes and vehicles.

Air traffic controllers will know where the aircraft are located on the taxiway and runways by aircraft type.

The all-weather technology collects air traffic control operational information and provides information that can be used to control airport lighting.

It also provides detailed airport and runway use records, supplies information that can be used for taxiway guidance to and from runways and ramps, and provides a framework for an airport revenue generation system to collect runway usage fees.

GSTARS, which uses the same type of inductive loop technology that is used to detect vehicles on highways and streets, can also detect aircraft as they approach the airport.

Art Garner, Orincon's chief operating officer, gave an example of how GSTARS can be used.

"You have radar coming in and you have low visibility. It's a dark night and it's foggy and the (controller) wants to know where his vehicles are, what gates are full and what runways are full. (GSTARS) will tell you that. With the process that's being developed, the guy in the tower can put down his binoculars and look at the screen. If there's an evident collision problem, it will change the color coding (on the screen) to let him know what's going on."

GSTARS, which was recently successfully demonstrated at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., costs a lot less than current radar systems being used by airports.

A small GSTARS system costs between $800,000 and $1 million, while a medium-sized system runs between $3 million and $5 million. Current radar systems used in the nation's airports costs between $20 million and $30 million.

Orincon plans to market GSTARS nationally and internationally in conjunction with Maryland-based ARINC, Inc., which develops and operates communications and information processing systems for the aviation and transportation industries and provides systems engineering and integration solutions to the government and industry.

Orincon, founded in 1973, also plans to heavily market GSTARS to military services, such as the Air Force.

"One of the things that's important for the Air Force is security," said Pat McLaughlin, Orincon's director of marketing. "You worry about people driving on to the bases. This allows you to recognize unknown vehicles that have entered your facility."

McLaughlin said GSTARS can also be used in temporary air fields.

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Cyber Cows: What did the cow say to the gecko? Let's get together in cyberspace.

San Diego-based PC giant Gateway Inc., known for its cow-patterned boxes, has struck a deal with America Online Inc. to offer consumer Internet appliances.

The AOL Gateway countertop appliance, wireless Web pad and desktop appliance will be powered by Netscape's state-of-the-art Gecko browser technology.

The devices will allow consumers to have "Instant AOL" in every room of their homes. They will also offer E-mail, news and personalized services such as AOL's My Calendar, recipes, coupons and grocery lists.

"For many consumers, the Internet is becoming an essential part of their lives, carrying the same importance as the telephone, radio, newspaper, magazine and TV," said Jeff Weitzen, Gateway's president and chief executive.

"Using the latest technologies from Gateway and AOL's popular features, content and services, the AOL Gateway appliances have the ability to change the way consumers live, learn, work and play by expanding the range of the Internet to every room of the house."

Bits & Bytes: While we're on the subject of the World Wide Web Mitek Systems, Inc. has launched a Web browser that will locate, capture and save information from the Internet to user-selected databases or formatted files. San Diego-based Mitek expects to beta test its WEBrowz technology through mid-April. San Diego's InterVU Inc. will lend a hand to the King of the High C's. Well, sort of. InterVU will webcast the Three Tenors concert at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on April 22. The webcast will be used to celebrate the premiere of Superstar Theater (www.superstartheater.com), which will run talent contests online. Renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti will introduce the operatic presentations available on the Web site, which was launched by Tibor Rudas, producer of the Three Tenors. Those who register with Superstar Theater will get a free viewing of the Vegas debut of Pavarotti, Jose Careras and Placido Domingo on the site. San Diegans will soon be able to purchase Spanish-speaking cell phones.