Robots to the rescue for UAE airports?
Robbie the Robot doesn't lose a bag - and he could be set to ensure your luggage definitely ends up in Dubai and not Delhi, or Abu Dhabi and not Addis Ababa.
At least that’s the pitch of a high-tech firm that would like its bag-handling robots to be a common sight at UAE airports.
For just over five years, hi-tech robots have been ‘employed’ as baggage handlers at the huge hubs in Amsterdam and Frankfurt airports to get luggage exactly where it’s supposed to be.
Robot manufacturers Grenzebach insist they’ve never lost luggage in all their time at the busy-bagged Euro hangars.
“Robots don’t make mistakes - they are perfect,” said Grenzebach’s director Dr Joachim Dohner, speaking at the Airport Show at Dubai’s World Trade Centre yesterday.
And if the German company gets their way, reliable robots could be stocking the hold at an airport near us - with Grenzebach hoping to convince Dubai Airport that they’re the intelligent choice of the future.
“The environment in Dubai is very suitable for this technology - just from the dynamics of bags, storing capacity and room for growth,” said Dohner, adding he’d love to roll out the robots in the rest of the Middle East as well.
Asked why other airports hadn’t employed robots instead of human handlers, Dr Dohner said: “I hope they will in 10 years - many people are afraid of robots, they think they’re complex and hi-tech when they’re not. Amsterdam likes it so much travellers can see the robots at work.
“Show me another airport that shows the baggage handling to the public? There isn’t.” While a human is needed to work the robot, Dohner says the advantage is: “Robots don’t have a bad day - don’t turn up with a headache or fail to show up because of a bad back or go on strike.”
Grenzebach say the robots can shift around 200 bags per hour, lift up to 50kg in weight and reduce costs for airports.
“This is not Star Wars - it’s like playing Tetris instead,” said Dohner. Asked by 7DAYS whether the robots had names, he replied: “We like to call them Robbie.”