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DFW Pilots Advanced Robotic System for Luggage Handling

Autonomous vehicles are being used to transfer bags and create a more seamless transfer experience

by Business Traveler

June 26, 2019

Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport is testing a new system execute seamless transfers, by introducing Vanderlande’s autonomous vehicle solution FLEET, in the re-check area in Terminal D. The tech forward integration is a first-of-its-kind robotic system that can handle nearly 450 bags per hour. It is being tested with transfer passengers who arrive from international flights and connect through DFW.

Operators are finding the application to be both exciting and challenging, mostly because FLEET will be working in a passenger area.

“DFW is testing the process to see how we might provide our customers with a more seamless journey within our current baggage infrastructure,” said Khaled Naja, DFW’s executive vice president of Infrastructure and Development. “As we go through the pilot program, DFW will evaluate this new technology and assess potential applications of robots and autonomous vehicles at different points within the Airport.”

Customers who participate in the pilot program will use one of four self-bag drop units and identify the airline for their connecting flight using the touch screen. Each FLEET vehicle will transport an individual piece of luggage, transferring the passenger’s bag to the appropriate baggage belt.

Vanderlande, established in 1949, focuses on value-added logistic process automation at airports, and in the parcel market. Vanderlande’s baggage handling systems move 4.2 billion pieces of luggage around the world per year — 11.5 million per day. Its systems are active in 600 airports including 14 of the world’s top 20.