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Thu, 28 March 2019

Kyushu Saga International Airport to Become Proving Ground for Latest Technologies

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 region.

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 & Smart" airports.

Mototok Spacer 8600 remote controlled tug. Click to enlarge.

"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.

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