Volcanic Ash Cloud: Scientists Working On Detection Device (VIDEO)

12/08/2011 08:07 am ET

More than a year after the epic eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland halted air travel, scientists are coming up with a way for pilots to detect volcanic ash while in flight.

According to International Air Transport Association more than 10 million airline passengers were affected by the eruption and some 100,000 flights were canceled, the BBC reports.

A new system designed by British scientist Dr. Fred Prata, will use heat-detecting cameras, satellite data and atmospheric modelling to dictate to pilots where an ash cloud is and how to avoid it, the Daily Mail reports.

The Airborne Volcanic Object Imaging Detector (or AVOID) was unveiled in a test flight over Mt. Etna.

Pilots will be able to detect ash anywhere between 5,000 and 50,000 feet, according to the Daily Mail.

The program has undergone some 30 hours of testing; next year, sponsored co-testing by easyJet and Airbus will, scientists hope, lead to implementation of the technology by summer 2012, the Guardian reports.