A distributed control system for luggage handling at the airport

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

The aim of this research project is to explore whether and how the handling of luggage at the airport can be automated. For this, the researchers have designed distributed control methods for a fleet of automated guided vehicles (AGVs), transporting individual pieces of luggage. Each AGV is modelled as an intelligent agent, able to observe the environment around itself, and to communicate and coordinate with other AGVs. The environment and infrastructure are also used for navigation and planning of the AGVs. Such distributed, self-organising systems of the AGVs are highly scalable, flexible, and resilient. Modern equipment on board of the AGVs makes them also very efficient and agile in movement.

What's next?

The next step for this research project is to expand the test of the AGVs so they can truly operate autonomously in handling luggage. Besides the application of AGVs in airport luggage logistics, they can also be used in other systems such as large warehouses or flower auctions.

Dr. Alexei Sharpanskykh


Prof. dr. Richard Curran

Additional information

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