In the rapid world of air travel, efficient airport management and robust security measures are critical with ensuring smooth operations and passenger safety. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative technology, offering innovative solutions to address various challenges faced by airports. This blog explores the importance of AI in airport management and security, examines the key challenges in the airport environment, and discusses how AI can significantly boost airport security.
Let’s start with the importance of airport management and AI.
The importance of airport management and AI
There’s no doubt that demand for travel will continue to rise globally. The International Airport Transport Association (IATA) forecasts that the number of global passengers will almost double by 2037, reaching 8.2 billion annually. Although this is a strong metric for the industry, it is also a crucial obligation for airlines and airports. Due to safety risks, there must be strict regulations for passengers, staff, and airplanes . Thus, these regulations require good management to ensure safety regarding the processes of airports and the flight.
AI-based solutions have slowly become a useful asset for easing those regulations, with investment ramping up across commercial applications. UBS, a leading financial services firm, recently noted that AI has become one of the technology sector’s fastest growing segments with investors projecting the industry to grow to $300 billion by 2027 .
Understanding airport challenges
Airports face numerous challenges that necessitate innovative solutions. One of the primary challenges is managing the ever-increasing number of passengers. With air travel on the rise, airports are struggling to oversee the influx of travellers while maintaining an elevated level of security. How exactly can AI boost airport security?
Advancing airport security with AI
AI has the potential to revolutionize airport security by augmenting existing measures and introducing advanced capabilities, while making the travel experience more seamless for passengers. Here are some ways AI can boost airport security.
(1) Enhanced surveillance systems
AI-powered surveillance systems can analyze vast amounts of real-time video footage, enabling airport authorities to respond swiftly to potential security threats . By utilizing advanced facial recognition algorithms, AI can identify individuals on watch lists and alert security personnel promptly.
(2) Intelligent screening and risk assessment
Traditional security screenings often involve time-consuming manual checks. AI has the ability to automate this process by using machine learning algorithms to analyze X-ray images of baggage and identify potentially prohibited items. As a result, this speeds up the screening process and minimizes the chances of human error.
(3) Predictive analytics for threat detection
AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of historical data to identify patterns and anomalies, aiding in the detection of potential threats . By continuously monitoring various data sources, such as passenger behaviour, social media feeds, and travel history, AI can provide early warnings to authorities, allowing them to take pre-emptive action.
(4) Smart queue management
Long queues at security checkpoints are a common sight at airports, causing frustration among passengers. AI can optimize queue management by collecting real-time data on passenger flow and dynamically adjusting resources accordingly. This ensures a seamless and efficient screening process, improving the overall passenger experience.
(5) Robotic assistance
AI powered robots can assist airport staff in performing various tasks, such as baggage handling and cleaning. These robots can work 24/7, reducing human labor costs and enhancing operational efficiency. Recently, Norse Atlantic Airways unveiled plans to integrate the world’s largest robot into their operations. Powered by AI, the robot looks to revolutionize aircraft de-icing, washing, and maintenance .
Additionally, robots can be equipped with sensors to detect potential security threats, further bolstering airport security measures. One prime example is at Changi Airport in Singapore where police robots have been introduced to project additional police presence .
Solutions for airport optimization
Self check-in and boarding
Adding AI to self-service kiosks enhances the experience for passengers on their day of travel. AI has achieved noticeable adoption rates on personal devices, biometric selfies before you get to the airport can be leveraged from check-in through to arrival at your destination. Check-in solution, such as Embross’ VELOCITYone (V1) kiosk enables travellers with a quick and independent pre-flight experience – biometric day of travel galleries are now widely used to shortcut the process for passengers can scan to verify documents, select seats, print boarding passes, and even tag their own baggage. This extends to security, lounge access, and border control for international flights. One example use case from 2021 which includes biometric authentication, an application of AI, is WestJet’s Trusted Boarding trial with TELUS, a touchless process that uses safe and secure facial verification technology to verify travellers’ identity prior to boarding a flight.
The smartest self bag drop
While Embross’ VELOCITYbagdrop (VBD) also incorporates biometrics, it goes beyond that and is a true next generation solution leading the way in the implementation of computer vision and artificial intelligence. Utilizing our own intelligent vision system, the Embross VBD is the smartest self bag drop available today, incorporating the latest in object detection, recognition, analysis, and deep learning systems. The Embross VBD can detect, identify, dimension, analyze, instruct, and learn from each baggage transaction as it identifies conveyable baggage from non-conveyable baggage- differentiating traditional suitcases from duffle bags, extended handles from retracted handles, oversize from tube-conveyable.
Future trends and innovations
Looking ahead, the future of AI at airports holds even more exciting possibilities. One of the areas that researchers and developers are exploring is autonomous vehicles. With advancements in AI and robotics, airports may soon witness the adoption of self-driving shuttles or baggage carts, delivering passengers and their luggage to their desired destinations within the airport premises . Airports that have deployed (or are in trials for) autonomous vehicles include Heathrow, Gatwick, and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky.
Similarly, AI can have a significant impact on air traffic management. By analyzing real-time data and weather conditions, AI algorithms can optimize flight routes, reducing fuel consumption and emissions. This, in turn, can contribute to mitigating the environmental impact of air travel and promote sustainable practice within the aviation industry.
By embracing AI technologies, airports can better meet the demands of passenger volume, helping to create an enhanced travel experience for all. As the demand for efficient and seamless air travel continues to grow, AI will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the future of airports worldwide.
At Embross, we design, install, and deploy a broad spectrum of biometric solutions to help you achieve these significant changes. If you would like to learn more, do not hesitate to contact a member of our expert team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Omar Abbasi, Marketing Manager at Embross