New touchless bag drop technology being trialled at Heathrow
Amadeus’ touchless bag drop technology is being trialled at London’s Heathrow Airport.
The technology uses proximity sensors to allow passengers to check-in their luggage without touching the screens on the kiosks.
The new contactless experience has initially been installed on six of Heathrow’s Auto Bag Drop (ABD) units provided by ICM Airport Technics, an Amadeus company. The trial means passengers using any of the six trial ABD units can drop their luggage quickly, safely and easily.
The Amadeus contactless solution sees an infra-red proximity sensor installed along the top edge of the bag drop screen, which detects the passenger’s finger as far as 3cm from the screen surface. This allows passengers to interact with the bag drop unit as usual but without the need to physically touch the screen.
Heathrow’s process improvement director, Mark Burgess said: “We’re preparing to welcome back more travellers, by looking for new and innovative technologies that will help to ensure the passenger experience remains safe and efficient in a post-COVID world.
“That’s why we’re delighted to be working with Amadeus to trial these touchless self-service bag drop units. This is just one of many new measures that we’re implementing across our terminals, as part of Heathrow’s Fly Safe programme.”
Richard Dinkelmann, CEO, ICM Airport Technics, noted: “We’re working closely with our airport and airline partners to deliver solutions that help them adapt passenger services to the new environment.
“Whether it’s contactless bag drop, biometric boarding or off-airport check-in, we are working with airports to rethink how they can meet new traveller requirements.”
ICM Airport Technics, which became part of Amadeus in 2019, has supplied more than 270 Auto Bag Drop (ABD) units to Heathrow since 2016 as the sole partner for self-service bag drop, which are shared by 30 airlines, so passengers can choose to easily drop bags without assistance from an agent.
Over five million bags were dropped by passengers using this solution during 2019, with the self-service process taking less than 60 seconds on average.
Amadeus and Heathrow have been trialling several contactless technologies for self-service over recent months, including ‘screen mirroring’, which allows the passenger to operate an ABD unit with their own mobile device. Following extensive testing, it was decided to move forward with the proximity sensor approach.
Upon completion of the proximity sensor trial, all check-in kiosks and ABD units could be upgraded in a matter of weeks so that all passengers can access contactless check-in and bag drop.
Amadeus recently delivered an end-to-end contactless solution for Avinor at 17 of its airports in Norway helping to create a completely touchless experience from check-in to boarding, in less than three months.