Team Led by ST Dynamics Wins CAAS’ First Aviation Challenge
17 August 2017
Winning prototype expected to help ease the load of baggage handling workers
Minister for Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport, Mr Ng Chee Meng graced the award ceremony of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore’s (CAAS) inaugural Aviation Challenge, where a team led by Singapore Technologies Dynamics Pte Ltd (ST Dynamics), in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd (IAI), emerged winners with a prototype that will help ease the load of baggage handling workers.
Using bar-code readers, the fully automated winning prototype aims to address the challenges faced at various stages of the baggage handling process. The loading of bags into a trolley, for instance, is currently performed manually by baggage handlers. The prototype for baggage loading uses a robotic arm to load bags, eliminating the heavy manual handling. For the baggage unloading process, an automatic trolley offloader prototype is able to lift a fully loaded baggage trolley, tilt it and offload the entire trolley’s load of bags onto the baggage conveyor belt in less than two minutes – all with the push of a button.
Minister for Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport, Mr Ng Chee Meng (5th from right), and Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Mr Kevin Shum (6th from right), with the participating teams from the first Aviation Challenge.
The Aviation Challenge was launched in 2014 with the objective of developing innovative solutions to automate labour-intensive processes in airport operations. For the first Aviation Challenge, five teams, chosen from the fourteen teams which applied, were awarded a total of S$9.2 million in funding to develop prototypes from September 2015 to July 2017, to reduce the physical strain of baggage handling workers. The prototypes were then evaluated jointly by a panel comprising senior representatives from the aviation community. The team with the winning prototype was presented a cash prize of half a million dollars at the award ceremony.
Minister Ng, who met with the participating teams and viewed their prototypes, said, “I thank all the participants for helping to think about how to ease the load of our baggage handlers. My heartiest congratulations to all the five Aviation Challenge finalists, particularly the winning team from ST Dynamics and IAI. And indeed, we should systematically and proactively look for ways to apply technology such as robotics and automation, to raise productivity and create better jobs for all our air transport workers.”
Mr Kevin Shum, Director-General of CAAS, added, “We are delighted that this Aviation Challenge has brought out the spirit of collaboration and innovation - both within and beyond the aviation community - to enhance Changi’s competitiveness. These strong partnerships are key to ensuring that Singapore’s aviation industry continues to flourish and offer many exciting and attractive opportunities.”
Minister Ng viewing the winning prototype from a team led by Singapore Technologies Dynamics Pte Ltd (ST Dynamics), in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd (IAI).
Receiving the award on behalf of the ST Dynamics team, Mr Paul Tan, Vice President of Technology Development at ST Dynamics, said, “We are delighted to see our ideas come to life as part of the Aviation Challenge. The autonomous solution for baggage handling operations demonstrates ST Engineering's expertise in robotics and autonomous solutions. Our solution, developed together with our partner Israel Aerospace Industries, integrates seamlessly and safely in the operating environment. It reduces operator fatigue, enhances workplace safety and increases productivity by simplifying existing tasks. In addition, a central fleet management system manages and optimises the use of available resources, thus reducing business costs.”
Mr Lee Seow Hiang, Chief Executive Officer, Changi Airport Group, said, “Changi Airport Group is pleased to support the Aviation Challenge where protoypes can be tested in a live airport environment. These innovations can help to enhance productivity and make the work environment more pleasant for our airport staff.”
“The Aviation Challenge is a good initiative to encourage the development of technology to improve productivity and enhance efficiency in a tight labour market. We believe the projects developed through the Aviation Challenge will advocate change to the traditional modus operandi and transform the future of the Aviation industry,” said Mr Denis Marie, Senior Vice President Apron Services & Security Services, SATS.
The second Aviation Challenge will look at how we can automate the process of consolidating cargo into larger pallets and containers for transport in aircraft and the reverse process of taking apart cargo from these pallets and containers. The second challenge is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
Annex - Factsheet on the First Aviation Challenge
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