IBM: Robots and RFID to take on Dutch baggage

A combination of robots and radio frequency identification (RFID) will soon speed baggage through Amsterdam's Schipol Airport in the Netherlands. IBM and Vanderlande Industries have signed a contract to increase the airport's baggage capacity and efficiency.

The new 108,000-square-foot baggage hall "Nieuw Zuid" is designed to handle luggage for departing and transferring passengers. When the hall opens in 2011, six robots will mechanically manage baggage, handling 60 percent of the loading and further decreasing connection times. And RFID tags, which transmit information to sensors, will track bags through the system. IBM will provide the management system to control and track each bag.

"Airports and airlines see improved baggage handling as a major step towards increasing passenger satisfaction. The efficiencies of the new system will cut down operating costs and improve transfer connection times for passengers at Schiphol," says Charles Vincent, Director IBM Travel and Transport Europe.

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