Airport Terminal Innovation

Themes: Aerospace, Software Technology & Intelligent Systems

A TRL is a measure to indicate the matureness of a developing technology. When an innovative idea is discovered it is often not directly suitable for application. Usually such novel idea is subjected to further experimentation, testing and prototyping before it can be implemented. The image below shows how to read TRL’s to categorise the innovative ideas.

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Summary of the project

Within this project the researchers aim to design automated tools for decision making through which they can enhance the operation at the terminal side of an airport. Within the project, they focus on different aspects of security, safety, resilience, and efficiency for both the airport stakeholders and passengers. One of the beauties of this project is that they take a holistic approach toward the airport, taking into account all different aspects that make up the airport ecosystem. For this study, the researchers use Rotterdam-the Hague Airport as a living lab.

The researchers used an AI-based approach combined with behavioural science methods. The project is unique in the sense that instead of depicting people as numbers they have computationally modelled different aspects of human behaviour. For instance, they have been able to model the difference in behaviour between slow and fast moving passengers. They discovered that this difference is also reflected in how people go through the security check. This finding points at the need for differentiating and adaptive airport management policies, for example with respect to opening security check lanes, which were proposed in the project.

This novel approach may lead to a better understanding of what is going on in the terminal building and helps to make more informed decisions which sometimes go against what you would decide based on intuition.

What's next?

The next step for this research project is to use more advanced sensors for tracking how people (different categories of passengers, security staff, check-in staff, cleaners etc) move and behave at the land-side of the airport. Another next step is to look at the punctuality of the passengers and how the AI can suggest changes in the operation to enhance this.

Dr. Alexei Sharpanskykh


Prof. dr. Richard Curran