The BrightSky booth
For us, as BrightSky representatives, we were also interested in "Autonomous Airside", an area of research where opportunities are investigated to make airside operations smarter and more automated. Vanderlande and T-Hive very much focus on the baggage handling process on apron of course, but for me it was an eye-opener what other opportunities exist to make aviation more sustainable. I didn't know for instance that 80.000 tons of CO2 can be saved by using a tug to taxi airplanes to their gate, instead of using the airplane's engines.
In addition to manning our booth there was also plenty of time to walk around and look at the other innovations. I'll highlight two.
The first was a cool demonstration of a drone being used to inspect aircraft for damage. The company Mainblades took a commercial drone, added lidar to it, a high-resolution camera, and loads of smart software. The drone flies over the aircraft, first orients itself to determine its exact position, and then takes hundreds of photos. These are automatically analysed and compared to a database, and an exact report is given about the number, location, and severity of any damage. Impressive!