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Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation, best known for its robotic exoskeletons, has been collaborating with Changi Airport Group (CAG) to develop an outdoor-based baggage loading system that can automate the loading and unloading of loose passenger bags from a narrow-bodied aircraft.
The companies performed initial field demonstrations in September at Singapore Changi Airport, where they determined that a robotic system could help reduce the risk of injury in baggage handling jobs and could help to augment the airport’s ground handling labor force.
“Similar to major airports throughout the world, recruiting enough ground handling personnel to support our growth is a challenge,” Poh Li San, senior vice president of Terminal 5 Planning, CAG, said. “We have been encouraged by the innovative solution from Sarcos to help address these issues, and we’re excited to explore the next steps towards implementation.”
CAG hopes that investing in robotics can help support air traffic recovery and meet long-term staffing needs. The project is partially funded by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) through its Aviation Development Fund (ADF), which aims to improve productivity in the Singapore aviation sector with innovative solutions.
“Changi Airport is an industry visionary and continues to be a key development partner to Sarcos,” Kiva Allgood, president and CEO of Sarcos, said. “Deploying robotics to improve workplace safety is core to our mission at Sarcos and this system has the potential to transform airports across the globe by making them safer and reducing passenger delays due to weather-related downtime. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with CAG to augment the workforce of the tarmac with robotics.”
In November, Sarcos announced it completed successful field tests for the U.S. Navy at the Repair Technology Exercise (REPTX) at the Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme, CA. It demonstrated its robotic systems designed to carry out maintenance, inspection, and repair activities, on and around ships underway and pier side.
The tests were performed with a suite of Sarcos solutions, including the Guardian DX teleoperated dexterous robot for defense; the Sapien 6M dexterous robot; the Sapien Sea Class underwater robot; and the Guardian S remote visual inspection robot.
Sarcos acquired RE2, the company behind the Sapien line of robots, in March 2022 for $100 million. The deal consisted of $30 million in cash and $70 million of Sarcos common stock.