© Vanderlande

The pilot of an artificial intelligence system for baggage handling at Eindhoven Airport has been a success. BagsID and Vanderlande concluded from the test held at Eindhoven Airport between August and December 2020 that this system for handling checked-in luggage is reliable and workable. Innovation Origins already featured this system at the start of the pilot. Eindhoven Airport is extending the pilot until 2023 in order to test the technology even more thoroughly and extensively.

According to BagsID, Eindhoven Airport is the first airport in the world to test this technology. It is expected that the use of this new technology will be more accurate, environmentally friendly, and cheaper than checking in luggage by scanning luggage labels. In addition, it has the advantage of keeping passengers informed of the status and location of their luggage.

No baggage labels

With the new check-in method, luggage labels are no longer needed. At present, passengers sometimes attach labels incorrectly or tags become detached from the suitcase. It is more environmentally friendly because luggage labels and label printers are not needed. For example, Eindhoven Airport printed 1.2 million labels in 2019 alone. The passenger just needs to take a picture of their suitcase and upload it. They can always keep track of the status and location of their luggage via track and trace. The system uses cameras to keep an eye on the suitcases in the baggage handling area.

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    “The first phase of the pilot has been completed successfully, says Ivar van der Smaal, innovation manager at Eindhoven Airport. Nevertheless, the barcoded luggage tags will not disappear anytime soon, Van der Smaal emphasizes. The information on the luggage labels contains a mandatory 10-digit code, which is stipulated in the directives (RP 740) of the International Air Transport Association. Moreover, destination airports must first have a similar system in place.

    Algorithm exceeds expectations

    Marlon van der Meer, founder of BagsID, is happy with the collaboration with both Eindhoven Airport and Vanderlande: “Our algorithm performed well beyond our expectations. We are going to continue developing the application potential of this image recognition technology at Eindhoven Airport in 2021.”

    In the next trial period, the image recognition algorithm will be linked to the baggage system. Then a trial run be done in which passengers of a selected flight check in their hold luggage by having a picture taken of their suitcase. The passengers then receive a notification on their mobile phone about the status and location of their suitcase up to their final destination.

    Also interesting: Eindhoven Airport focuses on innovation instead of expansion

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    About the author

    Author profile picture Arnoud Cornelissen has for many years been writing about science and technology in, among others, various Dutch newspapers.