British Airways is experimenting with a new tool for guiding passengers through its massive London Heathrow hub: guide robots. Starting in 2020, the flag carrier of the United Kingdom will deploy an array of autonomous robots in Terminal 5 of its London Heathrow base to help guide passengers through the airport and answer basic questions. The problem is harder to solve than it may initially sound. Getting around Heathrow requires deep knowledge of the dozens of storefronts, duty-free shops and lounges in the terminals as well as the ability to navigate through multiple floors and throngs of passengers who may not always be paying attention to their surroundings. To help guide passengers, the new robots will not only have to know where they are at all times but also be able to navigate through the airport without getting lost or running into travelers.
British Airways is set to trial artificial intelligence powered robots at Heathrow Terminal 5. In an announcement Thursday, the airline said the autonomous robots had been programmed to "interact with passengers" in multiple languages and would be able to answer "thousands" of questions, providing passengers with services such as real-time flight information. The robots are being provided by a technology company called BotsAndUs and the trial will start in 2020. British Airways added that the robots would also have the capacity to escort passengers to locations such as special assistance zones. "These smart robots are the latest innovation allowing us to free up our people to deal with immediate issues and offer that one-on-one service we know our customers appreciate," Ricardo Vidal, who is head of innovation at British Airways, said in a statement.
British Airways has introduced advanced neural networks, known as artificial intelligence, to its airside operation at Heathrow Terminal 5. The new system is designed to help staff ensure every flight departs safely and on time. Currently, when customers disembark an aircraft, British Airways' ground staff manually check and record the details of eighteen different activities that need to be completed before the plane can depart for its next flight - including thorough cleaning of the aircraft interiors, unloading and reloading of catering, luggage and cargo and refuelling. An issue affecting just one of these tasks has the potential to disrupt the entire process and delay the flight's departure. Now, using a network of cameras set up around the aircraft stand by technology start-up Assaia, an alumni of British Airways' parent company IAG's Hangar 51 start-up accelerator programme, artificial intelligence is employed to compare live footage of the complex turnaround process with the proposed schedule.
British Airways (BA) has introduced artificial intelligence (AI) technology to parts of its "airside operation" at Heathrow Airport. In an announcement Monday, the airline said that AI would be used to tackle challenges faced when an aircraft is being prepared for departure after passengers from its previous flight have disembarked. It's during this time that staff on the ground undertake manual checks related to 18 different things, making records of what they are doing, British Airways said. These checks have to be done before the plane takes to the air again and are, among other things, related to refueling, the unloading and reloading of luggage, and cleaning of the aircraft's inside. BA said that if one of these tasks encounters an issue, it could potentially disrupt the whole process, resulting in a delayed departure.
The UK government has approved £2 million ($2.57 million) worth of funding for 18 projects that will develop anti-drone and drone detection technologies. The funding comes part of a competition held by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) program under the UK's Ministry of Defence (MOD). MOD officials approved funding earlier this year, in April, after a series of amateur drone incursions froze air travel at several airports across the UK. Infamous is a three-day incident at the Gatwick Airport in London just before Christmas last year, and another day of flight cancellations in January, at Heathrow, London, one of the world's largest airports. In April, MOD, through DASA, asked the private sector for solutions to detect and neutralize "small UAS (unmanned aerial system) threats."
Pilots can't spot drones as they approach a runway, warns a shock new study. They fail to catch sight of the flying gadgets 70 per cent of the time - even when they are in their airspace, according to the findings. And they almost never identify the machines if they are hovering motionless above the ground. The disturbing findings uncover a'real and present danger' to safety, warn US aviation experts. Study co author Dr Ryan Wallace, of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the United States, said: 'Dangerous close encounters between aircraft and drones are becoming an increasingly common problem.
An estimated 7 million drones will be flying in the skies by 2020; Claudia Cowan reports on the new technology being developed to keep airports safe. But some people either don't care or use drones to intentionally disrupt airport operations. Last December, drone sightings at London's Gatwick Airport forced a three-day shutdown, and canceled flights left thousands of stranded passengers scrambling. No one has been arrested in the case, and this past April, investigators said it could have been an inside job. In recent months, suspected or confirmed drone activity has grounded flights in Dubai, New Zealand, Israel, and at Newark Airport in New Jersey.
Detectives have launched an investigation after three drones disrupted flights at an airport during a nearby music festival. Leicestershire police said a pilot of one of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) had been interviewed by officers after it was reported to police at 9.30am on Saturday near the Download festival at Donington Park. Two further drones were reported inside the restricted airspace at East Midlands airport at midnight and on Sunday at 1.30pm. Flights were delayed at the airport as a result of the drones. Police said they had carried out inquiries in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority and East Midlands airport.
LONDON - Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion have drawn up plans to use drones to shut London's Heathrow Airport this summer in a campaign to stop the construction of a third runway at Europe's busiest airport, the group said. The internal proposal, seen by Reuters, emerged against a backdrop of renewed campaigning by environmental groups who argue that expanding Heathrow would be incompatible with Britain's targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions. "On June 18, we plan to carry out nonviolent direct action to ensure Heathrow Authorities close the airport for the day, to create a'pause' in recognition of the genocidal impact of high carbon activities, such as flying, upon the natural world," Extinction Rebellion said in a statement late on Thursday. "This is not about targeting the public, but holding the Government to their duty to take leadership on the climate and ecological emergency," the group said. Heathrow Airport said the use of drones would be a "reckless action."
The drone attack that brought Gatwick airport to a standstill last December could have been an "inside job", according to police, who said the perpetrator may have been operating the drone from within the airport. Sussex police told BBC Panorama that the fact an insider may have been behind the attack was "treated as a credible line of enquiry from the earliest stages of the police response". Gatwick's chief operating officer, Chris Woodroofe, believes the perpetrator was familiar with the airport's operational procedures and had a clear view of the runway or possibly infiltrated its communication network. "It was clear that the drone operators had a link into what was going on at the airport," he told Panorama, in his first interview since the incident. He said the culprit had carefully picked a drone that would remain undetected by the airport's DJI Aeroscope detection system being tested at the time.