Airline Industry News, Trends, Analysis

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Aviation Matters

Wave Your Archaic Passport Bye-Bye, SITA Banks on the Future of Blockchain ID

SITA revealed plans at this past week’s Air Transport IT Summit (ATIS) in Barcelona to give the world a more secure and reliable form of personal identification which might one day make passports obsolete.

Leo the Baggage Handling Robot, by SITA Lab, seen at SITA Air Transport IT Summit 2016 © FCMedia
Airline Passenger Experience Airports Aviation Matters Terminal Fascination

Exclusive Video: Get To Know Leo. He Can Handle Your Baggage

While at the SITA Air Transport IT Summit 2016 conference in Barcelona, I got a chance to meet Leo, a specialised robot designed to help passengers check their luggage baggage faster at the curb before they enter the airport terminal.

The fully autonomous robot can check-in, print bag tags and carry up to two 32kg suitcases. It follows a programmable tracks and has laser guided obstacle avoidance system to navigate high traffic areas.

Leo was named after the Italian Renaissance inventor and engineer Leonardo da Vinci–creator of the world’s first robot.

While only a concept system now, the SITA Lab innovation gives us an idea of how automation might help improve baggage processing—one of the areas of the journey passengers are least happy about.

SITA hopes robots like Leo will reduce the need for trolleys and general congestion at the terminal land-side.

“Leo demonstrates that robotics hold the key to more effective, secure and smarter baggage handling and is major step towards further automating bag handling in airports. Leo also provides some insight into the potential use of robots across the passenger journey in future,” says Dave Bakker, President Europe at SITA.

Leo was put through his first trials at Geneva Airport’s Terminal 1. Stephan Cheikh tells me he was pleasantly surprised to see how well real passengers reacted to the robot. 

“In a busy airport such as Geneva Airport, the use of a robot such as Leo limits the number of bags in the airport terminal, helping us accommodate a growing number of passengers without compromising the airport experience inside the terminal. Leo also proves the case for increased use of robotics to make passengers’ journey a little more comfortable, whether it is checking in baggage, providing directions or helping them through the security process,” said Massimo Gentile, Head of IT at Genève Aéroport.

Leo, which was built for SITA by BlueBotics, and is only one of the many innovations SITA Lab has come up with to make airline and airport operations more efficient and pleasant for passengers.

SITA Passenger Survey, man using smartphone on Airplane. Source: SITA, Getty Images.
Airline Passenger Experience Aviation Matters SITA Air Transport IT Summit The Flight Fantastic

What Kind of Traveller Are You Really? Take the SITA Quiz

Travellers don’t like dealing with people. That’s the conclusion of SITA’s latest Passenger Survey revealed during the Air Transport IT Summit this year.

Instead, most travellers are happiest using technology, but how passengers respond to the various self-service travel services available depends on the individual passenger type. SITA has put its Passenger Quiz on-line. Take it and find out what category you fall under.