Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and bridge supplier CIMC-TianDa have signed a contract for the development of a robotic passenger bridge. Smart ICT and sensors will simplify the work of the bridge operator and reduce the waiting time of passengers on the aircraft.
Currently, the bridge operator has to position the passenger bridge manually. Together with KLM and the bridge supplier, Schiphol has carried out a successful trial over the past year that involves the automatic connection of the air bridge. The operator enters the aircraft and the bridge then makes its own way to the aircraft, stopping just outside the door. The operator only needs to complete the final stage manually by using the joystick.
The fully automatic connection of the bridge makes the process both quicker and simpler; connecting a bridge currently takes longer than a minute in 60% of cases. Schiphol and its partners are now entering a new test phase in which the bridge itself recognizes the aircraft on the basis of the information in the flight information system, also allowing the final stage to be automated. However, a bridge operator must always be present to operate the bridge and supervise the process.
This innovation is a global first and, in the future, may help speed up aircraft turnaround times. It also means an improvement for passengers, as it will allow them to leave the aircraft sooner. The airport expects to debut the world’s first robotic passenger bridge in 2019.