Robot bag drop being trialled at Geneva Airport’s T1


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Using robotics technology and artificial intelligence, bags are collected, checked in, transported and loaded onto the correct flight without ever having to enter the terminal building.

Passengers flying from Geneva Airport have been receiving help with their bag, thanks to a trial of a pioneering robot developed by SITA and Bluebotics.

The robot, called Leo, is being trialled at Terminal 1. It is a fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot that has the capacity to check in, print bag tags and transport up to two suitcases with a maximum weight of 32kg. It also has an obstacle avoidance capability and can navigate in a high-traffic environment such as an airport.

Using robotics technology and artificial intelligence, bags are collected, checked in, transported and loaded onto the correct flight without ever having to enter the terminal building or be directly handled by anyone other than the passengers themselves.

Leo – named after the Italian Renaissance inventor and engineer Leonardo da Vinci who built what is now recognised as the world’s first robot – comes to the assistance of passengers as they approach the terminal building. Touching Leo’s Scan&Fly bag drop interface opens the baggage compartment doors to allow passengers to place their bags inside. After the passengers have scanned their boarding passes, the tags are printed and can be attached to the bag. With the bags loaded and tagged, the compartment door closes and Leo displays the boarding gate and departure time.

Leo then takes the bags directly to the baggage handling area where they are sorted and connected to the correct flight. The doors of the robot can only be reopened by the operator unloading the baggage in the airport.

Massimo Gentile, Head of IT at Geneva Airport, said: “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.”

Dave Bakker, President Europe, SITA, added: “Through the innovative work of the SITA Lab we are able to tackle some of the key challenges that face airports today. Leo demonstrates that robotics hold the key to more effective, secure and smarter baggage handling and is a 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.”