A fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot called Leo has been unveiled by aerospace company Sita.
Leo has the capacity to check in, print bag tags and transport up to two suitcases with a maximum combined weight of 32kg.
It also has an obstacle avoidance capability and can navigate in a high-traffic environment (such as a busy airport). Leo recently took part in a trial at Geneva Airport, Switzerland, where several passengers used the robot to check in their bags.
Leo was named after the Italian Renaissance inventor and engineer Leonardo da Vinci who built what some consider to be the world’s first robot.
Leo automatically comes to the assistance of passengers as they approach the terminal building. Touching its Scan&Fly bag drop interface opens the baggage compartment doors to allow passengers to place their bags inside.
After the passengers have scanned their boarding passes, the tags are printed and can be attached to the bag. With the bags loaded and tagged, the compartment door closes and the boarding gate and departure times are displayed.
Leo then takes the bags directly to the baggage handling area where they are sorted and connected to the correct flight. The doors of the robot can only be reopened by the operator unloading the baggage in the airport.
Sita said the new baggage robot provides "a glimpse into the future use of robotics in airports to further streamline the baggage handling process".
The use of Leo limits the number of bags in the airport terminal by taking the bag drop outside the airport, enabling passengers to proceed directly to the gate after entering the terminal.
Last week, a humanoid robot named Pepper was employed as a receptionist in two hospitals in Belgium in what has been described as a world first.