Special transport units are needed to move cargo and baggage at airports. The solution developed by Axulus Reply for Fraport, one of the leading international companies in the airport business, has contributed to reducing the search and set-up times of the drivers and minimising empty runs.
Special transport units are needed to move cargo and baggage at airports. At Germany's largest airport, Frankfurt Airport, an average of 1,500 aircraft movements take place per day. Depending on the type of aircraft and number of loaded cargo or baggage units on the aircraft, a different number of transport units might be required. For this purpose, around 10,000 of these transport units are distributed across the entire apron in various parking areas.
One of Fraport's challenges is that many empty runs occur during transport to and from the aircraft. The drivers have to search for the transport units in the parking areas and transport them to the aircraft. Fraport AG has therefore tested various technologies – equipping the transport units with sensors and camera technology. So far, no technology or solution has been found that is eligible for airport operations. Due to the technological progress in the field of computer vision and AI, this new technology was tested together with Axulus Reply in order to solve the current problem.
The transport units are located in fixed parking areas when they are not being used to load or unload an aircraft. Axulus Reply has installed cameras mounted on a pole in the parking areas, sending a livestream to the cloud to analyse it with an AI pipeline. The analysis determines the type of transport unit, the loading status, and the parking status of each detected wagon. This information is displayed in a web app that shows free and occupied spaces in order to optimise the work of ground handling teams based on this information.
When using new camera technology, it is important that the camera is able to optimally capture parking areas of different sizes, and that larger distances between the camera locations and the parking areas can be bridged. In addition to having the high recognition rate, the new solution needed to be embedded in processes at Fraport and designed to be user-friendly. Dispatchers were to receive capacity data on peak coverage in a simple way.
The digital innovation management of Fraport AG announced a worldwide challenge and presented this problem. Here, Axulus Reply prevailed as one of 18 applicants.
The solution more than met the high requirements and has proven itself in daily use. It helps to reduce the search and set-up times of the drivers and to minimise empty runs. It thus makes a valuable contribution to cost reduction, makes transport processes more efficient, and has a positive impact on CO2 reduction.
Fraport AG is one of the leading international companies in the airport business and is active at 31 airports across four continents. The airport operator provides all operational and administrative services for airport and terminal operations. The figures, data and facts from 2019 around Frankfurt Airport are impressive: Within 24 hours, more than 1,400 aircraft took off and landed here, and more than 6,000 tonnes of cargo were handled.
Axulus Reply is the Reply Group company focused on providing innovative technology-based solutions based on Industrie 4.0 and IIOT to quickly generate sustainable added value for customers across complex supply and value chains. Axulus Reply specialises in the entire value chain of Engineering Manufacturing/IoT and Supply Chain Execution (SCE). The company focuses on scalable, modular Industrie 4.0 solutions and helps its customers achieve maximum efficiency through comprehensive consulting and technologies.