Delta Air Lines is working with Georgia Tech to test autonomous vehicles that could be used in an airport environment.
Potential applications for autonomous cars, trucks and buses at airports include helping customers make tight connections between flights, delivering delayed baggage or transporting aircraft parts.
The research is taking place at Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, a publicly funded smart city living lab that is equipped with a one-and-a-half-mile long autonomous vehicle testing track. It also offers 5G connectivity, smart infrastructure such as connected traffic lights, a dedicated fibre-optic data network, and an operations centre where researchers can track data from all the connected devices and sensors on the track. Located in a commercial office park, the real-world test environment allows interaction with people and vehicles going about their daily business.
“Our 5G-enabled living laboratory will give Georgia Tech researchers the opportunity to push the frontier of emerging technology in a real-world setting that is almost impossible to replicate in a closed lab,” said Betsy Plattenburg, executive director of Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners. “Curiosity Lab also will provide those researchers an opportunity to collaborate with other industry leaders and focus their research on immediate challenges and results.”
The advances that emerge from this partnership could benefit airport users and employees, according to Delta’s chief operating officer Gil West.
“Autonomous vehicle technology is one of those innovations we see as having the potential to improve employee safety, the customer experience and operational performance, and this partnership will help us explore all of those possibilities,” West said.