SATS and TUMCREATE explore AI powered robotic cargo handling system

posted on 20th August 2019 by Justin Burns
SATS and TUMCREATE explore AI powered robotic cargo handling system

Singapore ground handling company SATS and technology research centre TUMCREATE are exploring commercialisation opportunities for the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) powered robotic air cargo system.

They have developed SPEEDCARGO, technology aimed at helping digitalise air cargo handling and transforming what they say are “labourious processes” for the freight industry.

SATS and TUMCREATE say the industry stands to benefit from improved productivity and time savings, in addition to higher throughput and load factors.

Using SPEEDCARGO, airlines would according to the two partners, be able to optimise their cargo hold based on volume, weight, and other criteria with a click.

The technology is an integrated solution comprising three products – cargo eye, cargo mind and cargo arm – which are targeted at optimising cargo acceptance as well as cargo palletisation through intelligent unit load device (ULD) planning, and automatic ULD packing, respectively.

The AI-powered operating system enables seamless data connectivity for end-to-end optimisation and improves safety and security across cargo operations.

SATS is contributing operational know-how and expertise, along with its premises at SATS Airfreight Terminal as a test bed. Since October 2018, TUMCREATE has been stationed on site, working closely with SATS during the prototype development phase and for ongoing trials

SATS and TUMCREATE have achieved 99.99 per cent accuracy rate for the dimensioning of accepted cargo during trials of cargo eye. It produces a digital fingerprint for incoming cargo in real-time using an advanced 3D camera system for better pallet optimisation.

SATS and TUMCREATE are making progressive enhancements to cargo mind and cargo arm, with the aim of commercialising each product in phases.

“Piloting this technology in Singapore is part of our wider innovation programme to enhance services and scale our operational efficiency,” said Alex Hungate, president and chief executive officer, SATS.

Hungate added: “These capabilities would enhance our cargo network across Asia Pacific, along with COSYS+, our cloud-based cargo terminal management system, to augment real-time cargo visibility along our digital corridors.”

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) facilitated the industry collaboration with its second Aviation Challenge, where TUMCREATE was awarded S$1.9 million for SPEEDCARGO’s prototype development over two years.

The project has received S$4 million in funding from the National Research Foundation Singapore’s (NRF’s) Central Gap Fund, which supports public research performers in the translation of research outcomes into useful products, processes, and services that generate economic and societal benefits.

TUMCREATE is part of NRF’s Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE), an international campus set up to forge partnerships between Singapore’s universities, research institutions, and leading overseas research institutions.

(Pictures courtesy of SATS)