Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group

Airport Innovation Spotlight: Robotics

Robotics-based technologies are being introduced into leading airports worldwide with increasing speed than ever in the middle of the unfolding global pandemic. The benefits of greater efficiency coupled with minimising human contact are just too appealing for major airport operators to miss. As such, expect 2021 to offer up a widening range of robotics-related announcements for airport upgrade works. 

Recent developments:

Incheon International Airport, South Korea, will soon see a team of 10 LG-made robots added to their operational setup. Five are robot guides capable of showing visitors to different areas of the airport while providing information on flight times and other key guidance. The remaining five are sweeper robots, which feature advanced programming that allows them to deftly avoid obstacles and people while cleaning all manner of surfaces throughout the airport.

Key West International Airport, Florida, has introduced a $100,000 mobile robot that patrols high footfall areas while emitting a high-intensity ultraviolet light that kills bacteria and viruses in the air and on surfaces. While expensive, large and bulky at 6 foot in height and 300 pounds in weight, this type of robot will become increasingly common in major airports as part of their ongoing strategy of viral containment and passenger safeguarding.

Krasnodar International Airport, Russia’s ninth busiest airport, announced in late December 2020 that it is introducing robotic arms to its baggage handling system. The robots are essentially powerful mechanical arms equipped with cameras and barcode scanners, making them capable of identifying, moving and sorting even large pieces of passenger luggage. Each robot within the system can lift bags up to 42 kg in weight and handle one piece of luggage every 40 seconds.