By Nnamdi Odumody
SpeedCargo, the world’s first AI-powered robotic solution for automatic build up and breakdown of aviation cargo pallets, is a product of research collaboration between Technical University of Munich’s CREATE and the National Research Foundation of Singapore.
It addresses the non-standardized cargo shipment category which has high variation in cargo shapes, dimensions, materials and weight. Palletization of such cargo is a labour intensive process and is performed manually worldwide. Deployment of SpeedCargo optimizes yield, enables a seamless flow of data, increases productivity and upgrades job profiles needed within the aviation cargo industry.
It is a turnkey solution using the vital ingredients which define intelligent systems; perception, cognition and action.
CargoEye: It produces a detailed and accurate digital fingerprint of incoming cargo in real time using the most advanced 3D camera system for acquisition of geometry and image. It goes beyond state of art by capturing non-standardized labels and material information of the cargo in addition to its dimensions, weight and center of mass of a box.
The user interface can be handled by a worker after only single day of training. Cargo Eye can be connected to any database or inventory management system for persistently storing the captured information to be used for planning and handling.
CargoMind: It is an artificial intelligence-based software solution that guarantees optimal packing results at any given time. It ensures that all aviation safety regulations for pallet packing are met while providing the operator a flexible planning tool to maximize profit. In addition, the system is able to re-plan a pallet at any given time within the process to accommodate any last minute modifications; for example a new cargo shipment needs to be accommodated on an existing pallet that has been partially built. CargoMind also enables the structural buildup of the pallet by planning collision-free motion trajectories for the robot.
CargoArm: It is the actuating system for physical and reliable handling of high-mix and high-volume cargo shipments. It is equipped with a gantry robot with a suite of advanced grippers to safely grasp and manipulate different types of shipments (ranging in dimensions, material and weight)
Although the gantry is a huge and heavy machine, it has extremely high precision (0.1mm). Equipped with a plethora of sensors, it can measure and record all important parameters that are of relevance while it is in motion.
The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) should study advances in technology like SpeedCargo and deploy it in all the cargo sections of the nation’s airports to increase efficiency in their operations, eliminate waste and maximize shareholder value.