Changi launches ‘living lab’ to test new tech

Cleaning robots are already on trial

Changi Airport is set to transform its operations for the future, with a new S$50 million programme to drive innovation over the next five years.

Called the ‘Changi Airport Living Lab Programme’, the programme will see Changi Airport Group (CAG) collaborating with innovation-driven companies and start ups, to develop and demonstrate new technology solutions, in a live airport environment.

There are several technology areas that CAG believes are ready for innovation and adoption in the airport:

1. Automation and robotics – opportunities to optimise manpower resources and empower the airport workforce to operate at higher efficiency and productivity levels.

2. Data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) –opportunities to enable a more accurate and real-time perspective of airport operations. This will allow Changi Airport to better optimise its operational processes, and power smarter decision-making. Consumer analytics will offer deeper insights into passengers’ habits and preferences, thereby strengthening the airport’s lifestyle product offerings.

3. Non-intrusive security technologies – opportunities for Changi Airport to greatly enhance the passenger experience and reduce the stress of undergoing security clearance, while strengthening safety and security standards.

4. Smart infrastructure management – opportunities to leverage new technologies such as sensors, IoT, smart controls; to optimise infrastructure resources.

Changi Airport has started working with partners to test solutions in some of these areas. Examples include:

  • prototype trials for autonomous cleaning robots to clean the floors in the airport terminals
  • exploring the use of automated guided vehicles to ferry passengers between terminals
  • taxi queue analytics, whereby sensors are used to determine the number of people in taxi queues and the estimated wait time

Currently, there are more than 55 million passengers passing through Changi Airport each year, generating over S$2 billion in concession sales. CAG believes that this is a rich eco-system that companies can tap on to test, refine and demonstrate their solutions.

Start ups can also find an opportunity in the Living Lab Programme to collaborate with Changi Airport to develop and ultimately deploy their solutions. These successful collaborations would give companies a head start in accessing new market opportunities and exporting their solutions internationally.

N.B. Image credit: Changi Airport

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