HKIA Technovation Conference and Exhibition 2016 Promotes Robotics Applications in Developing a Smart Airport
Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) today organised the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) Technovation Conference and Exhibition, with the theme of “Smart Airport – Robotics Applications”. Organised for the second consecutive year, this year’s event focused on robotic applications for the enhancement of operational efficiency at HKIA, and aiming to provide a platform to engage the airport community with the latest automation technologies and potential solutions to improve both work processes and the passenger experience.
Mr Yang says that HKIA has been an excellent incubating platform for trial and application of R&D outcomes and innovative ideas.
The opening ceremony of the conference was officiated by Nicholas W Yang, Secretary for Innovation and Technology; and Fred Lam, Chief Executive Officer of the AA. Over 600 participants from the government and the airport community, as well as technology and innovation industries, joined the conference.
Mr Yang said, “Innovation and technology is critical to improving the operational efficiency of airports. Our airport has been an excellent incubating platform for trial and application of R&D outcomes and innovative ideas.
“The Hong Kong R&D Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management Enabling Technologies (LSCM), in collaboration with the Airport Authority Hong Kong, developed an RFID luggage handling system utilising IoT devices to enhance baggage tracking and delivery efficiency. LSCM also developed a dual RFID and code reader system which allow passengers to home-print their luggage label for self check-in. These simple innovations help reduce processing time at airline check-in counters and provide a more enjoyable pre-flight experience for passengers.”
Mr Lam said, “Over the years, HKIA has been very active in applying automation technologies to different aspects of our operations. Our recent applications of automation technology at HKIA include cleaning robots and robotic inspection of runways and airfield ground lighting. In addition, we are also exploring the use of robots for airport customer services.”
“Looking ahead, HKIA plans to offer a full suite of robotics and automation technologies to streamline the entire passenger journey at the airport, making it faster and hassle free. We are also incorporating biometrics and using facial recognition techniques to facilitate the passenger journey from check-in to boarding, as well as more advanced x-ray machines to make security screening quicker and easier for travellers and aircrews,” Mr Lam added.
Representatives from aviation sector, technologies, universities and research institutes explore potentials of robotics applications in airport operations during panel discussion of the conference.
Keynote presentations were given by local and international airport partners and technologists during the conference, which covered topics including the application of technology and innovation in various aspects of airport operations.
Separately, 16 companies showcased airport robotics and automation applications, including robotic exoskeleton suits that enable workers to safely lift heavy objects in warehouses and baggage halls, and perform tasks that require high levels of physical strength. Other advanced technologies include robotics vision system that enable effective screening of running bags on the delivery belts, as well as auto Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) label affixing systems for transfer bags.
Since the establishment of the HKIA Technovation Board last year, different technology companies and universities have conducted around 40 trials of technological solutions at HKIA. By leveraging different technologies to develop HKIA into a smart airport, HKIA itself will continue to serve as an incubating platform, allowing the technology industry to explore new ideas and innovative solutions in aviation.