Sita Lab, a provider of air travel technology, has launched Kate, a mobile robot which the company says is an intelligent check-in kiosk that will autonomously move to busy or congested areas in the airport as needed.
Using various data sources – including flight and passenger flow information – Kate can identify where additional check-in kiosks are required to reduce passenger queue times at check-in.
Kate, which was developed in partnership with BlueBotics, uses existing Sita data systems such as Day of Operations Business Intelligence and FlightInfo API.
Multiple robotic kiosks can be automatically or manually deployed simultaneously and in formation to assist passengers, providing airports and airlines greater flexibility in managing peaks in passenger flow.
The kiosks can also communicate through a cloud service to ensure that the right number of kiosks are at the right position when needed, making them highly responsive to changes in the airport. A design patent application for the kiosks is currently underway.
Renaud Irminger, director of Sita Lab, said: “The peak and troughs in the flow of passengers presents a challenge to many airlines and airports and we have been approached by many customers requesting a solution. They want kiosks which can be easily deployed when and where they are needed.
“Building on Sita’s successful AirportConnect Open platform, and our previous work with robotics, Kate leverages new technologies to provide operators much more flexibility and efficiency in the way they will use their kiosks in future.”
Sita’s robotic kiosk makes use of geo-location technology to find its way through the airport.
Kate will use Wi-Fi to connect to vital airline and airport systems, dispensing with the need for cabling or other fixed attachments.
This allows the kiosk to move around freely across the airport terminal, using obstacle avoidance technology to avoid bumping into people or things.
Kate and her fellow robotic kiosks will automatically return to their docking stations when they are low on power or need to be resupplied with boarding passes or bag tags.
One of the key benefits of Sita’s autonomous kiosk is that it can be deployed anywhere inside the airport as well as other offsite locations such as train stations.
This is particularly relevant during periods of disruption – such as weather delays or flight cancellations – where additional kiosks can be moved from landside to airside to check-in large numbers of rebooked passengers.
Kate provides passengers access to her easy-to-use interface to check-in and print bag tags.
Kate follows in the footsteps of Leo, Sita’s fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot launched at the 2016 Air Transport IT Summit in Barcelona, Spain last year.
Leo was also developed in collaboration with BlueBotics.
Each mobile kiosk is able to localize itself and freely navigate in the environment using BlueBotics’ Ant navigation technology.
The complete project from specification to delivery of the three mobile kiosks was finished in a “record time” of three months, to have it ready for the Air Transport Summit in May.
“It has been a great pleasure collaborating with Sita Lab on this very exciting project and we’re looking forward to meeting Kate in an airport in a very near future,” says BlueBotics.