SATS brings augmented reality to the ramp

Written by: Felicity Stredder |
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On September 5, Asian ground handler SATS announced the introduction of smart glasses to ramp operations.

Wearers of the glasses will be able to scan markers on baggage and cargo containers that provide critical details in real time regarding loading, such as weight, unit number, loading sequence and the allocated position within the aircraft. This hands-free process is expected to enhance safety and increase the accuracy and efficiency of baggage and cargo loading.

The smart glasses are composed of a monocular display and inbuilt processor with video recording features. Wireless connectivity capabilities enable video streaming, which enhances the visibility of ramp handling operations across the airport by providing the ramp control centre a real-time view of processes on the ramp.

The ‘see-what-I-see’ feature enables flight controllers to better supervise and instruct operators on how to handle sensitive cargo, and gives them an enhanced oversight of the loading process, which will enable greater flexibility in manpower management.

Following the recent launch of its ‘travel concierge’ app, the revolutionary use of this technology represents another industry first for the handler. The new technology is expected to increase productivity and cut loading times by as much as 15 minutes, from an hour to around just 45 minutes. These time savings could give airlines a competitive edge as passenger wait times and transit times for airfreight shippers will also drop as a result.

“With passenger demand forecast to double by 2035 to 7.2bn air travellers, we are preparing to handle more passengers, aircraft and airfreight. SATS is embracing technology to handle these volume increases in an innovative, sustainable way. By introducing augmented reality to our ground handling operations, we are improving services for airlines, passengers and airfreight shippers,” said Mr Alex Hungate, President and SATS CEO.

As almost 600 staff undergo training, SATS will begin introducing the smart glasses to its operations in phases, with full implementation expected by mid-2018.

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