The beginning of the new year brought with it an opportunity to take a fresh look at the conditions of passenger transportation, as well as new and promising technologies that can help improve and simplify the travel process. We study developments and technology trends that will determine the development of the passenger transportation process over the coming years.
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is currently testing Spencer robots. They say that he will go beyond the skills of robots of the current generation.
Not so long ago, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) were seen as wild futuristic ideas, but they are developing rapidly. 2016 promises to be a landmark for these two technologies in the tourism sector.
Client-oriented robots in terminals are not a new trend. Back in 2013, Geneva Airport launched its first such experiment, and last year, similar projects launched Haneda and Auckland airports, where robots performed work on transporting luggage and cleaning the territory.
At the end of 2015, KLM launched the revolutionary Spencer project at Schiphol Airport. Spencer is said to go beyond the skills of today’s generation robots. He is able to lead groups of passengers directly to the boarding gate. It is assumed that Spencer will be able to recognize emotions, analyze group behavior and actively respond to unexpected situations, potentially providing services to customers and passengers of a new generation.
Robotics was a hot topic at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas (Aldebaran, for example, introduced Pepper, a humanoid robot that can communicate with people, recognize them, read and respond to their emotions), which once again emphasizes the fact that the robotic revolution is in full swing. If Spencer is a successful experiment and has a positive impact on the quality of customer service in Amsterdam, other airlines and airports will certainly want to follow suit.
The UAE is among those countries that have already announced their intention to explore the possibilities of robotics as part of a major technology transformation initiative that also covers the study of the role of AI in the future. Etihad, a Middle Eastern carrier, recently struck a $ 700 million deal with IBM that leverages IBM Watson to demonstrate the value cognitive technologies offer airlines.
The future importance of AI in the travel and transportation industry is obvious, so the air transport industry must be prepared to take advantage of its advantages and robotics to improve operations and passenger service.
Big data has been a popular term for airlines and airports for several years now. The industry continues to make efforts to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the vast data pools and big data tools that they have at their disposal. So the result – the processing and analysis of information are currently in the spotlight. The role of specialists in this field is growing in the air transport sector.
So what is a data processing and analysis specialist? According to IBM, it is distinguished from others by strong business qualities, which it combines with the ability to convey conclusions to both business people and IT leaders in such a way that they can influence the approach of organizations to business rivalry.
Good data processing and analysis specialists will not undertake to solve only business problems, they choose the right problems that are of the greatest value to the organization. Anjul Bambri, vice president of Big Data Products at IBM, adds: “The data processing and analysis specialist is an inquisitive person who can observe data and highlight trends. It’s almost like a Renaissance man who really wants to learn and make changes to the organization. ”
The above-mentioned projects, which are being worked on in the UAE and Etihad, focus on data processing and analysis. At the same time, low-cost carrier EasyJet recently appointed the first head of its data processing and analysis department. “Thanks to the huge potential of AI, as well as accelerating the process of processing and analyzing data in the airline industry, our work efficiency is improving, costs are being reduced, revenues are being increased and a lot of customer satisfaction is being stimulated,” the airline said. 2016 may well be the year of a specialist in data processing and analysis.
Self-service check-in and check-in items can now be found at airports around the world, but with the advent of a new generation of products on the market, biometric technologies seem to play a decisive role in creating the next level of security and a more comfortable passenger service process. The best example of this trend can be found at Auckland Airport, where Air New Zealand recently installed the first of 13 biometric self-service check-in points for baggage claim, which are equipped with a built-in camera for taking pictures of the passenger’s face.
A number of suppliers in this area are eyeing the integration of biometric technologies as the next wave of self-service products; moreover, many see them as an essential element that will help improve passenger service at airports.
This is consistent with the idea of creating a single passenger pass (such as Aruba Happy Flow), which can link the biometric data of passengers with their boarding pass and passport to eliminate the need to provide documents at several stages. As airports, airlines, and suppliers currently see the benefits of biometric self-service solutions, it can be expected that over the next 12 months we will see some of them come true.
Smart luggage solutions, such as the RIMOWA electronic tag, which was launched at FTE Global 2015, laid the foundations for the luggage revolution.
Baggage claim points with support for biometric devices will not be the only innovation in this sector in 2016. Last year was an outstanding year for luggage thanks to the joint launch by RIMOWA and Lufthansa of the RIMOWA electronic tag.
KLM is introducing such devices for luggage tracking of regular passengers, and several suppliers are improving their permanent electronic tags on baggage, thereby trying to take their place in this fast-growing market. Thus, the foundation is laid for the reconstruction of the luggage delivery process.
Various airlines are exploring the possibility of introducing electronic tags for baggage. Among them are British Airways, Air France-KLM, Air New Zealand and Brussels Airlines. As more and more sophisticated solutions appear on the market, the likelihood of their implementation increases. Back in August, one of the industry insiders stated with confidence that e-tags would appear within a year, and we would not doubt it.
All of the above is a major trend: the empowerment of passengers. Robotics has the potential to introduce a new level of customer service and reduce concern at airport terminals. Artificial intelligence, as well as data analysis and processing, can help airlines and airports benefit from the wealth of information that they have access to. Self-service solutions that support biometric devices can provide travelers with a more comfortable stay at airports. And smart baggage solutions will allow passengers to take control over the process of moving their baggage (including the ability to track it at every step of the way).
A modern traveler wants to have greater rights and powers, does not want to worry during waiting and flying, and expects to receive a more comfortable and personalized travel experience. The technologies listed in this article can help airlines and airports meet these requirements.