Remember the best airport in the world? Well, it’s about to get a huge upgrade.
Not only does Singapore’s Changi Airport have forest-like gardens, animal-shaped topiary, and an indoor waterfall for its passengers, but now, it will soon provide augmented reality (AR) glasses for its ground crew. That means a huge perk for its passengers, too.
Designed by Vuzix and AR design firm Eon Reality, these “smart glasses” provide instructions to the staff who load and unload aircraft cargo. By scanning a virtual QR code displayed on luggage and other baggage, crew members can instantly see the details of its weight, order for loading, and designated location in the plane. The control center staff can also monitor what the handlers see in real-time, thanks to cameras installed in the glasses.
According to SATS, the chief ground handling and in-flight catering service provider at Changi Airport, the new technology could cut loading times from one hour to just 45 minutes. That could lead to shorter waiting times for passengers (and no more getting caught in any of these insane flight delays!)
“Currently we have challenges [such as] limited real time information, we use manual loading instructions [in the form of paper reports] and are limited to walkie-talkies, [which] may be loud and hard to hear [with loud background noises],” said Kelvin Chin, Vice President of Projects at SATS. The AR glasses could dramatically improve that process.
Still, the glasses have a few down sides. For starters, each set can only last an hour with a fully charged battery. That means the crew members will need to carry around an extra battery pack, which can keep the AR glasses charged for up to five hours—but that doesn’t even cover the typical eight-hour workday.
The glasses will also take a bit of getting used to; SATS reported that its crew members took an average of one week to become accustomed to using the glasses. Right now, around 600 of SATS’ staff are participating in AR training, and the company anticipates full implementation by mid-2018, Mashable reports.
But a few smart glasses aren’t even close to the technology advances at this airport, where a robot greets you at the gate.