Automation comes to the US

APepper_HMSHost_OAK robot named Pepper is not only state-of-the-art – it is becoming the face of the future. Travellers in the US this year may well encounter this helpful humanoid at various airports, following recent trials of the technology in both Asia and Europe. Standing four feet high, the robot is programmed to greet people and engage with passengers, as well as provide menu details and recommendations.

At the time of writing this robotic novelty has been sighted on patrol at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport as well as Washington Dulles, Los Angeles and Oakland International. Pepper can customise her features for each airport so her interactions with travellers will vary from location to location. At select airports Pepper also helps passengers with airport directions such as gates, the nearest toilets and finding other food and beverage options throughout the airport.

Expanded role for Total Air Group

Total Air Group and WheelTug have announced an expansion of their existing co-operation. In its expanded role as a risk-sharing partner, TAG will help finalise WheelTug’s test, maintenance and repair procedures, as well as assist in the development of training procedures for WheelTug-authorised mechanics and technicians. TAG will also provide mobile teams for WheelTug system installations and maintenance at customer sites, and handle some logistic functions for the WheelTug support network. 

Mike Silvius, CEO of TAG, said: “Becoming a member of the WheelTug Team is extremely exciting for our organisation. The partnering of a dynamic repair station with such an innovative, forward-thinking aviation product is an outstanding power multiplier that will benefit all parties immensely. The efficiencies, time savings, safety and automation that this system brings to an aviation environment, with growing operational limitations, will be celebrated by CFOs, pilots, and passengers.” 

WheelTug’s CEO, Isaiah Cox, agreed. “This expanded agreement with TAG is a natural progression. TAG has already been a very valuable member of the WheelTug development and certification team, thanks to its hands-on experience with aircraft operational aspects, maintenance implications, and on-aircraft tests.”

New scissor lift comes to the airport

UTX scissorliftThe UTX Scissor Lift, which is made in Wisconsin, is designed to be fitted on to the back of an everyday utility vehicle but with one important difference – it can be quickly removed when not required. With a working height of up to 19 feet, something that can be achieved in under two minutes, it is a very versatile unit. The UTX deploys stabilisers for maximum security and is suitable for a one or two man operation.

Since its release last year, the UTX Scissor Lift has found interest amongst municipalities, landscapers, builders, film crews,  maintenance companies, farmers, hunters and railway operations, as well as airports and airlines.

According to the manufacturer, the first airline to buy a fleet of UTXs wanted a quick response scissor lift. The facility was duly incorporated with an electric vehicle, permitting it to be used inside the terminal as well as out on the ramp. Whilst a traditional scissor lift has a maximum speed of 3-4 mph, this can go faster, according to the carrying vehicle.

Helpfully, the UTX can be fitted to any utility vehicle that has a cargo box capacity of 1,000 pounds or more. Ingenious engineering means that removing the UTX from the utility vehicle takes under three minutes – and it can be stored off the ground, without any heavy lifting.

Currently, the company is working on developing the US market before looking to the UK and Europe as potential sales areas.