Modernization is in advance, and Ground Services Equipment (GSE) will change the setting of airport ground operations. Improved productivity, efficiency, and safety have already manifested itself. Recent advances in artificial intelligence will soon be practical for ground operations.
If you work in the GSE field, prepare now for an acceleration in software and automation. Your cost of doing business will shrink, the environmental impacts will improve, and the coordination of ground crews will streamline.
Efficiency and Productivity
Tracking and coordinating, a few decades ago, was supervisors pouring over schedules and contacting crews by radio. With software improvements, timing tasks are maximized to the minute. Automation of complex human tasks with robotics is becoming more common. GPS tracking of vehicles, crewed or self-driving, tied into control centers with computers will direct and dispatch with great accuracy. These innovations mean vehicles will have less idle time and work more on task.
Improvements in robotics mean cargo loading and off-loading cargo can be completed with little supervision. Repetitive and time-consuming baggage handling under automation can sort and send it to parked aircraft. Robotics can accurately place or remove baggage from aircraft and move the baggage back and forth to the terminals.
Software-coordinated ground operations will eliminate many accident risks. GSE vehicles equipped with sensors, like self-driving cars, will automatically avoid other vehicles, aircraft, people, and obstacles. In turn, all vehicles will network with all others. As a backup, in real-time, the automated control center can stop or veer vehicles from their path to avoid accidents.
Situational awareness embedded in both the control center and all vehicles means two layers of control. Automated vehicles avoid the possibility of human error. Self-driving cars and trucks are viable in urban environments far more complex than most airports. The two-step redundancy of the control center software and the ground vehicle sensors maximizes safety.
GSE software and automation reduce labor costs when operations become streamlined. Optimizing routes saves fuel for gas vehicles; for newer electric vehicles, the same optimizations mean less wear and tear. Automated vehicles can be staged at various locations.
The use of electric vehicles is growing, and a full conversion to all-electric is only a matter of time, Including automated tractors for towing aircraft. Fuel emissions and noise pollution will disappear.
Electric aircraft are not very likely to be viable soon, and aircraft are routinely maintained for decades. Automated fueling systems are problematic. Human labor is likely needed due to safety reasons. A human may need to connect hoses to aircraft, but much of the process can undergo automation. Two automated fuel trucks could arrive at the aircraft with one operator and fuel both wing tanks.
GSE Maintenance and Ground Services Management
Automation and GSE software can track and manage maintenance tasks. Needed parts and supplies will trigger the generation of purchase orders just in time, keeping inventories low. Repair management software accomplishes similar tasks; troubleshooting mechanical, fuel and electrical problems are seamlessly accomplished. Mechanics would directly supervise the technology.
GSE software improves coordination and communication between automated vehicles and ground crews and helps in smooth GSE maintenance. Algorithms can generate analytic reports of overall processes or specific operations for improvements. Complicated regulatory requirements become manageable and consistent.
The Future of Ground Services
Artificial intelligence (AI) is sometimes over-marketed but is a revolutionary computing advancement. Soon, AI will change GSE automation, and software will change for the better. You should expect innovations and new ways to manage ground services. Autonomous service vehicles are coming soon. Independent operations using robotics are now used in manufacturing, and airport services are a rational place for their use.
Major airlines based in Germany, France, and North America are optimizing baggage handling, automating tow tractors, and using maintenance management. Automation is on the rise with GSE software.
GSE Software and Automation
Ground Support Equipment is soon to advance even at small and regional airports. It has already begun at major airline hubs. Automation of all ground services is possible, and in the long run, the net benefit will be safer, more efficient, and less costly operations.
Software, automation, and soon artificial intelligence are moving forward in aviation. You should step up and move forward with the changes.
Author: Micheal Smith