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AirportLAB: a French project promoted by the partnership of Proavia members and French airports

In 2020 PROAVIA, the French Airport Industry Association (the equivalent of Air Tech Italy in our country) launched “Réseau AirportLAB”, a very innovative project aiming at allowing member companies to trial their innovations in a real airport environment.

The project is currently being studied by Air Tech Italy with the view of replicating the idea in Italy.

AirportLAB is a network of French airports which are ready to collaborate with the PROAVIA members to provide sites – inside their “platform” – for experimenting and testing Proof of Concept, prototypes or other solutions “Made in France”. The goal is to promote French innovation through a partnership with the French airports and stimulate new French solutions for a sustainable, safe and smart airport.

Here is an example of the project:

Alstef Group signed an AirportLAB experimentation agreement with Rennes Bretagne Airport during 2021.

Within the framework of AirportLAB, Alstef Group registered one of its major innovations, BAGXone, the fastest AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) on the market, dedicated to automated hold baggage handling in the terminal.

This agreement between Rennes Airport (whose two shareholders are the Ille-et-Vilaine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and VINCI Airports) and Alstef Group is divided into several phases. The first phase which took place in 2021, was operational testing of a BAGXone in the baggage delivery room in the reclaim area. The various functions tested were target and contour navigation, speed, security, baggage pick-up/drop-off on conveyors, and bypassing.

At the same time, a framework was set up to facilitate the exchange of technical information between the airport and Alstef Group’s Mordelles-based AGV expertise center located a few kilometers from the airport.

At the beginning of 2022 the successful outcome of this first phase was shared with the airport management and all the teams involved, validating the continuation of the trial and progression to the final phase.

The next stage is operational testing for the latest BAGXone developments which will be deployed during the year. The trial agreement with Rennes Airport demonstrates VINCI Airports’ willingness to make its airports testing grounds for service or operational innovations.

As an extension of the trial, Alstef Group will implement the first operational installation of BagXone at Belgrade Airport, Serbia – also managed by VINCI Airports. BagXone will be in operation at the airport by the end of 2022, and forms part of a broader baggage system upgrade contract signed at the end of last year with VINCI Constructions Grands Projets. BAGXone will perform the transfer of post-screening suspect baggage to the search room and then facilitate their return (after verification) to the final sorting area.