Could lost luggage become a thing of the past thanks to artificial intelligence? A new report by leading air transport communications and information technology specialists SITA says yes.
The company’s Intelligent Tracking: A Baggage Management Revolution paper says the smart use of technologies such as artificial intelligence is expected to revolutionize the management of baggage over the next decade, promising to make mishandled bags an increasingly rare event for passengers globally.
According to the paper, more than 4.5 billion bags are handled by industry baggage systems each year, but airlines and airports will have to cope with twice that number with passenger numbers set to double over the next 20 years. Despite this rapid growth, new technologies have allowed the air transport industry to halve its annual mishandling cost over the past decade from US$4.22bn to US$2.1bn and it’s hoped AI will further improve vital luggage management processes.
The International Air Transport Association’s Resolution 753, which comes into effect in June, requires all member airlines to keep track of each bag and share that tracking information with all involved in delivering those bags back to passengers at their destination, and it’s this data that can help ensure more bags get to where they’re supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be there.
“The bag tracking data that will be generated and collected under Resolution 753 will provide the air transport industry with a rich stream of data,” says Ilya Gutlin, president of SITA Air Travel Solutions. “This can be enhanced with AI tools to create greater efficiencies in baggage operations and, ultimately, to improve our experience as passengers.”
From an operations point of view, AI will allow airports and airlines to learn what baggage routes cause the most stress on their systems and what factors are most likely to cause them. These systems could also generate insight into the patterns of baggage movements that would enable airlines to deliver bags more effectively.
Using AI, intelligent machines will enable baggage to be autonomously managed from the moment a passenger checks in their bag to when it arrives at the destination, with autonomous loaders used to transport bags between the terminal and aircraft, and baggage data delivered directly to passengers.
“It will take time but AI will unleash the potential to make baggage operations more service orientated,” says Gutlin. “This means baggage delivery becomes more secure and enables airports and airlines to deliver tailored baggage services to their passengers.” www.sita.aero