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SATS looks to digitalize cargo handling

Singapore — SATS and Tumcreate announced that they are exploring commercialization opportunities for the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) powered robotic air cargo system, SpeedCargo, to help digitalize air cargo handling and transform laborious processes for the freight industry.

The industry stands to benefit from improved productivity and time savings, in addition to higher throughput and load factors. Using SPEEDCARGO, airlines would be able to optimise their cargo hold based on volume, weight, and other criteria with a click.

SpeedCargo is an integrated solution comprising three products — Cargo Eye, Cargo Mind and Cargo Arm — which are targeted at optimising cargo acceptance as well as cargo palletization through intelligent Unit Load Device (ULD) planning, and automatic ULD packing respectively. The AI-powered operating system enables seamless data connectivity for end-to-end optimization, and improves safety and security across cargo operations.

SATS is contributing decades of operational know-how and expertise, along with its premises at SATS Airfreight Terminal as a test bed to accelerate cargo handling in a sustainable and secure manner. Since October 2018, Tumcreate has been stationed on site, working closely with SATS during the prototype development phase and for ongoing trials.

SATS and Tumcreate have achieved a 99.99% accuracy rate for the dimensioning of accepted cargo during trials of Cargo Eye, which produces a digital fingerprint for incoming cargo in real-time using an advanced 3D camera system for better pallet optimisation. SATS and Tumcreate are concurrently making progressive enhancements to Cargo Mind and Cargo Arm with the aim of commercializing each product in phases.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) facilitated the industry collaboration with its second Aviation Challenge, where Tumcreate was awarded S$1.9 million for SpeedCargo’s prototype development over two years. The project has received S$4 million in funding from the National Research Foundation Singapore’s (NRF’s) Central Gap Fund, which supports public research performers in the translation of research outcomes into useful products, processes, and services that generate economic and societal benefits.

“Piloting this technology in Singapore is part of our wider innovation programme to enhance services and scale our operational efficiency” said Alex Hungate, President and CEO, SATS. He added, “These capabilities would enhance our cargo network across Asia Pacific, along with COSYS+, our cloud-based cargo terminal management system, to augment real-time cargo visibility along our digital corridors.”

Dr Suraj Nair, Head of SpeedCargo Technology, said, “This partnership with SATS is a unique opportunity for us to develop our technology into a fit-for-purpose solution for the airfreight industry. Support from industry players and regulators like CAAS is essential in realising SpeedCargo’s vision of the automated airfreight terminal of the future”.

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