CUHK’s “IoT-Augmented Airfield Service System” Piloted at Hong Kong International Airport to Assist in Building a Smart Airport

The Centre of Cyber Logistics under the Asian Institute of Supply Chains & Logistics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) was commissioned by the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) to develop the “Internet of Things (IoT)-Augmented Airfield Service System” (AS2), which has been piloted at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to assist in the best use of apron facilities. The project has won the “Smart Mobility Grand Award” in the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2019. It shows that the Centre’s innovative artificial intelligence technology and IoT management system are well recognised by the industry.

AS2 is an airfield service system and is currently in its first phase which focuses on monitoring and improving the efficiency of baggage delivery from arrival flights. Through a deep-minded map service compatible with ArcGIS and Google map, it actively delivers a view of the overall real-time situation on the apron to those using it, such as apron service operators, airlines and other airfield service teams. From this, their work can be coordinated so that the key performance indicator targets are reached and the performance of baggage delivery is improved. A multi-dimensional dashboard service is available to manage aircraft turnaround. It provides strengthened operational visibility supported by analytics on-demand, fused data from flight arrival estimates, and the readiness of equipment, as revealed by IoT. Users are kept informed of the current status and are alerted to incidents or potential problems. The analytics services provided by AS2 are both real-time and predictive. It can present a real-time performance of resources allocation of a specific location. It can also predict the changes in a specific operational area. For example, when there is chance for delay in baggage delivery, the operator can take that into consideration in determining the next best action. The combination of the two ensures that the appropriate actions and remedies can be taken quickly in normal and unexpected situations.

Fostering new start-ups by collaboration with industry, academia and the research sector

Prof. Waiman Cheung, Director of the Asian Institute of Supply Chains & Logistics, said, “The missions of CUHK’s Asian Institute of Supply Chains & Logistics are to conduct academic as well as applied research in supply chain management and logistics, to facilitate the advancement of technological know-how for supply chain management theory and the logistics industry, and to promote knowledge transfer between academia and industry. AS2 demonstrates the achievements of the Institute in applying academic theory to solve practical problems of enterprises, and incubating ubiZense Limited, which has commercialised the scientific research results for industry. It is a successful example of the University’s technology transfer to incubate start-ups and realise the collaboration with industry, academia and the research sector. The first phase of AS2 has been piloted at HKIA since last October. We will continue our research and hope to extend AS2’s services in the near future to the entire operation of an aircraft turnaround, such as fueling, aviation meals and cleaning.”

Dr. Jerrel Leung founded ubiZense in 2018 and serves as the chief architect. He was a research assistant professor at CUHK’s Centre of Cyber Logistics and was involved in the research and development of AS2. ubiZense aims to provide organisations with solutions to the strategic design of IoT networks, the integration of disparate IoT data sources and organisational data, and business insights that are improved by using artificial intelligence.

“The embodiment of ubiZense demonstrates that academic research can indeed find a way to industry. AS2 utilises different IoT technologies to capture situational awareness and uses artificial intelligence to make sense out of the massive amount of data. We have just completed AS2 phase I and we are looking forward to commencing AS2 phase II. Through AS2, we aim to help AAHK to better manage turnaround performance and to further improve the overall performance of HKIA. The ambition of ubiZense is to spread AS2 to other airports and even to other industries,” said Dr. Leung.

AS2 offers a multi-dimensional dashboard service to manage turnaround performance with enhanced operational visibility.

Through the map service provided by AS2, uses can understand the status of all flights and equipment on the apron.

This press release was first published in the CUHK website.