British Airways is introducing autonomous baggage carts at its home airport, London Heathrow. The baggage carts are designed to reduce customer delays by optimising the baggage process.
British Airways deals with 75,000 bags a day! Obviously coordinating and getting the bags to where they need to be is gonna be a challenge. However, British Airways has a little trick up its sleeves to help simplify the process. That little trick is called automation.
Every bag at the airport carries a bag tag, this has a barcode on it so it can be tracked by the company, Airline, and the Customer. These then travel through the baggage system at the airport where they are loaded onto a cart to be delivered to the aircraft.
The operator of the baggage carts typically waits until all of the bags have arrived to save making multiple journeys. However, with each automated baggage cart, known as a dolly, able to operate independently, they can head to the appropriate aircraft as soon as each one is full.
Here is what they look like:
These carts have memorized the layout of the airport so they will never get lost! Using artificial intelligence, they also work out which route would be quickest, rather than unnecessarily following a predetermined route.
These carts also are zero emission. While new technology is certainly exciting, it does raise a couple of concerns. The largest in this instance being safety while operating around aircraft.
Additionally, without a baggage container on top, the low to the ground vehicles could potentially be easily missed. As such, British Airways appears to be adopting unmissable no overtaking signs onboard the vehicles.