All Nippon Airways (ANA) has partnered with Saga
prefecture in Japan, to transform Kyushu Saga International Airport
into one of the world's
smartest, best-connected airports.
The move is designed to make Saga Airport
a proving ground for the latest connected technologies, turning it
into a hotbed of innovation and a premier logistics hub in the
As a prominent testing ground, Saga
Airport will collect data on the effectiveness of new technology
featured at the site, acting as a template for future "Simple &
"We seek to innovate and reimagine how the
travel experience can be improved by harnessing the potential of
technological innovation," said Shinzo Shimizu, Senior Executive
Vice President of ANA. "The on-the-ground tests that ANA will be
conducting at Saga Airport will lead to important breakthroughs
that streamline and improve service on the ground. This will allow
us to complement our exceptional in-flight service with a similar
level of logistical support."
New technology to be featured in the first round of
trials at Saga Airport include a wearable robotic exoskeleton,
remote-controlled aircraft pushbacks, automatic baggage loaders
and automated towing tractors
The robotic exoskeletons for heavy
duty loaders entered service in February, while the first
autonomous towing tractors are set to roll out between late March
and early April.
The latest pushbacks will start the trial in
mid-April, with the automated baggage loaders being the last of
the first batch to undergo testing sometime in the FY 2019.
"We aim to set the standard for
modernization at Kyushu Saga International Airport through our
partnership with ANA," said Yoshinori Yamaguchi, Governor of Saga
Prefecture. "Saga has a history of innovation, serving as the base
of Japan's industrial revolution, and has leveraged its creativity
to build a strong legacy of global leadership in manufacturing. I
hope to continue building on these achievements and making Saga a
transmission point for the fourth industrial revolution: AI and IoT."
Officials at Saga Airport and ANA will monitor the performance of
these devices closely, using the data gained from these trials to
improve efficiency across the airport. This information will also
be instrumental in the implementation of other innovations at Saga
Airport in the future.