Tired of waking up at 4am to catch a 10am flight? Not having enough time to stop and get some food, a drink – or even look in the shops. Then, despite your restraint in the duty-free, you have to run to make it to your gate before it shuts! Autonomous aviation solves all these problems and reduces queuing time by 50% meaning more time for food, shopping and getting to your gate; less time faffing around, passport in hand, waiting to awkwardly half-smile at a customs officer who looks ready to deny you entry at any point.

Existing Technology

In many places such as Christchurch, Heathrow, Gatwick and Cincinnati, airports are already trialling self-driving vehicles to help clean-up and transport single passengers. Other places such as Lyon airport in France have implemented robotic valet systems to maximise outdoor parking. Airports are using more and more autonomous technology, which is why here at Cavonix we want to get ahead. We develop autonomous airport shuttles and baggage handling vehicles so that airports can operate with much more efficiency, and cut waiting times from 4 hours, to 2.

The Impending Future of Travel

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that by 2036, air travel rates will have doubled from 4 billion (in 2019) to 8 billion. Due to COVID-19, a large percentage of flights and access to airports dropped, but this could be taken advantage of as it would be more efficient in building new systems and making changes to the physical infrastructure to do so while passenger volumes are down. Space will have to be implemented for AVs so that they have access to areas and facilities where they will be used the most, and planning is key as there needs to be a smooth, efficient system in place so not to cause any disruptions – after all, the last thing you’d expect in an airport is some kind of delay.

Safety and Security

The only threat that creates anxiety surrounding new technology and automated systems face is hackers, however no one has ever successfully hacked or even penetrated the computers of an airliner’s flight control system, or any part of its avionics – and although many have tried, companies such as NASA aren’t going to risk getting hacked by a 15-year-old boy… again. 

Automated airport systems are the key to dealing with the 50% increase in passengers over the next 15 years, giving us plenty of time to set up and alter physical infrastructure and complete development of fully automated systems. From robotic valeting, autonomous shuttles and baggage handling, to one day fully autonomous airplane flights – get ready to actually enjoy your time in the airport, and not listen to the grumbling of fellow passengers as they run straight past the cheap alcohol and straight towards their gate.