UK company Fuel Matrix wants to weigh passengers at airports to save airlines money and carbon emissions
A woman walks through a body scanner at Hamburg airport, Germany. Fuel Matrix is look for ‘discreet’ ways to weigh passengers at airports before they board. Photo: Alamy
A British start-up would like to know what airline passengers weigh before they board their flights.
It’s not nosy or pushing a fitness kick or trying to make people feel bad. It doesn’t even want to make it obvious it’s calculating a person’s weight. It just wants to save the planet from carbon emissions and save the airlines some money, according to a report this week by the Lonely Planet.
The company, Fuel Matrix, has developed technology that would allow airlines to determine passengers’ weights with more precision than the estimated weights they use now.
“It’s critical to know the actual weight an airliner is carrying to ensure the correct fuel uplift,” Roy Fuscone, the company’s chief executive, was quoted as saying. Instead of relying on generous estimates currently in use – about 88 kilograms for men and about 70 kilograms for each woman, as set by the European Aviation Safety Agency – an airline could know exactly what the people and luggage on board weigh. That might mean taking on less fuel.
While the technology might be new, the concept isn’t. Other airlines have sought to alter their practices based on the economics of calculating each passenger’s weight, and their baggage.
In 2013, Samoa Air became the first airline to weigh passengers and charge a variable kilogram-per-mile rate based on whatever the scale had to say. To some, the method seemed reasonable, since heavier people take up more space and more energy to move. To others, the move seemed like fat-shaming dressed up as economic fairness.
“Airlines are often accused of treating their passengers like pieces of meat, but Samoa Air have broken new ground,” a British columnist wrote in the Guardian at the time. In 2016, Hawaiian Airlines won approval from the US Department of Transportation to assign seats to passengers based on their body weight, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
Lonely Planet said the company is in talks with airports in the United Kingdom to figure out “discreet” methods of determining a passenger’s weight. Fuscone also told the travel guide’s website that passengers’ privacy would be safeguarded just as with any other private data.
GETTING THERE: HELPING AIR TRAVELLERS SAFELY FIND THEIR WAY
Great wayfinding design helps people move through spaces. When designed effectively it can help assist travellers through stressful situations, reduce confusion, and increase satisfaction in the overall airport experience. By designing intuitive spaces and helping travellers calmly move through them, airport operators and security professionals can focus on more pressing issues. Paul McConnell and Mandana Kazem provide some background to wayfinding, its role in an airport, the technological and social changes that are impacting how people move through spaces, and what this means for airport security.
Wayfinding is central to how we experience our airports. It helps people get to their ultimate travel destination through a series of communications and actions that start when planning a trip and build to a peak in the terminal. A wayfinding system provides guidance during standard operating scenarios but should also assist in other situations such as periods of heighted threat or evacuation. It is these disruptions that can truly ‘stress-test’ an airport’s design and operation. Digital, infrastructure and operational design, along with wayfinding strategies become crucial to ensure safety. When effective, wayfinding can help reduce anxiety and shape a calm environment for airport operational teams to do their jobs. This is particularly relevant around the passenger screening checkpoint, a notoriously stressful process in the passenger journey. However, the craft of wayfinding design or environmental design for airports is changing. In this article, we will provide an overview of wayfinding, trends that are impacting airports, and design considerations to help improve the airport experience for all.
Bad design can be easily identified in airports. It can take the form of illegible or poorly positioned directional signage, unclear or poorly timed instructions, or a display that lacks relevant information. These are all communication failures, disruptive moments that force a person to do more ‘work’ in searching for answers to figure out their next step. They add time and frustration to a journey, impacting satisfaction, brand perception, and safety. This has the potential to slow down thousands of individuals and the system as a whole. We have all, at some point in our travelling lives, experienced confusion on entering a passenger screening checkpoint due to the lack of, conflicting or overwhelming amount of instructions (or wayfinding direction).
Great design, on the other hand, anticipates and answers visitors’ questions, and builds confidence in the various layers of infrastructure systems. This is particularly relevant when passengers experience slightly different processes between visits to the same airport or between airports. For example, laptops out of bags at one airport but they stay in the bag at others. From operations to signage, great design adds to a system that functions efficiently. Helping people get to their destination safely and comfortably, with more time to relax, look around, and prepare for the real trip.
What is Wayfinding?
Wayfinding is how people find their way to a destination and navigate a physical environment. It is a problem-solving process. The basic goal is to find one’s way from one location to another. The process of figuring this out includes seeking information, searching for an appropriate route and moving along that route.
This process is iterative, with people repeating these steps until they reach their destination. Good wayfinding (or wayshowing) allows passengers to efficiently move through the space. The key however, is providing just enough information. Once in a space, people can choose from multiple wayfinding strategies. The strategy or combination of strategies chosen in a specific situation depends on aspects such as an individual’s attention or prior knowledge. These strategies include :
Track Following — Following signs, lines, or other paths (such as presenting at numbered screening checkpoint divestment stations)
Route Following — Following a plan
Educated Seeking — Using prior experience
Inference — Concluding from designations such as station names or icons, such as gate numbers
This is no more evident than at the passenger screening checkpoint. Whilst most would agree that if we could redesign the screening checkpoint from scratch today it would look very different, we have seen significant improvement in passengers’ ability to self-navigate through what is a confusing process thanks to wayfinding mechanisms/products.
Essentially the screening checkpoint should be designed to get passengers and their belongings from landside into a sterile area without any prohibited items being carried and with minimal stress. The differences between airports, and the nature of the process being intrinsically invasive, coupled with ‘separation’ of people from their valuables, invariably causes confusion and stress. The improvements we have seen, thanks to wayfinding products, include queue-time indicators to allow passengers to select which screening checkpoint to use after check-in; LAGs banks providing illustrations and zip-lock bags to prompt compliance with LAGs limitations; signage, videos and stickers inside trays illustrating how to compose a tray and divest items; lighting, numbering and colour coding at divestment stations; lighting design that highlights the intuitive pathway through the lane; floor demarcations to indicate a change in procedure, such as between the X-ray and ETD processes; and, placement of re-dressing facilities away from areas that should otherwise be ‘thoroughfares’.
Considerations for Wayfinding
In recent decades, wayfinding and our expectations for great experiences in spaces has changed. Thanks to smart phones and real time traffic data, we are now used to getting options for point to point direction for any mode of transit. The line between services, technology, and finding our way has blurred. More importantly, people don’t differentiate between disciplines. They just demand that it makes sense. The following are some considerations when collaborating on new wayfinding solutions in spaces. Consideration 1 – Design for New Digital Behaviours
Our spaces have been designed with an assumption that our collective eyes would be looking up. Scanning a space. Looking for clues to help us advance our journey. In the past two decades, we have all developed a new behaviour, whereby we stare down at our personal devices. An air traveller is also encouraged to look down at their airline specific branded mobile applications; checking for gates numbers, boarding passes, or alerts. This is all very helpful, but do operators really know what physical world messages people are now missing?
Consideration 2 – Design for Resilience
The spotlight has also been placed on the vulnerabilities of design, not only from the perspective of fire but also from security threats, and the events and triggers that can convert normal operations into emergency scenarios. It is these scenarios that can truly ‘stress-test’ an airport’s operations. Digital, infrastructure and operational design, alongside effective wayfinding strategies become crucial to ensure safe operations.
Consideration 3 – Design for the Human
The flow of an individual through space and time is often modelled through ‘persona’ based journeys, effectively walking through an environment from the perspective of a user. For an airport, the user may be a passenger, operational or maintenance staff (including cleaners and retail staff), or an individual that performs some other function (such as emergency response personnel). A user may also include an individual for whom the airport provides a function, such as flight crew. Personas define the characteristics of the individual (e.g. older passengers with reduced mobility, VIPs, leisure travellers) and the walk-through of the journey attempts to understand (and predict) their needs and potential problems. Such methods enable designers to guide the design of airport environments, systems and operations, and support the development of wayfinding strategies. They predict problematic decision-making points that may cause individuals to follow incorrect paths, that subsequently create further ‘traffic’ and detrimentally affect their experience. These methods can further model and support operational journeys – for example the passage and needs of staff. Architectural, digital, operational and signage wayfinding strategies can be optimised to support these decision-making points, and information needs can be understood to ensure the right information is presented at the right time to ensure smooth and error free movement. The flow of groups of people is often understood through the use of pedestrian flow models, which predict passage and footfall of significant groups, again based on their significant characteristics (e.g. passenger wheelchair users). Flow modelling can predict problematic cross-flows and further bottlenecks that may cause congestion, and ultimately confusion and frustration. With this information wayfinding strategies can be developed to smooth and segregate flows and ensure that aspects such as differences in physical characteristics do not disadvantage any individual. Critically, both techniques can be used to understand and support movement of people when operations fall outside of the norm – e.g. when an event creates an abnormally large influx of people, or when out-of-service lifts or grounded aircraft create swells of passengers in dwelling zones. Wayfinding strategies should have the capability to support abnormal and degraded operational scenarios as a key element of airport resilience.
Consideration 4 – Design for other than normal operations In 1996, a fire at Dusseldorf Airport caused the death of seventeen people. This is still considered one of the worst structural fires to have occurred in any commercial airport building. An investigation showed that a root cause for many deaths was attributable to signage that ultimately failed to direct people safely out of the building. Emergency scenarios require specific consideration whereby infrastructure, systems and operations must switch to supporting emergency functions and operations – and critically support the needs of those attempting to evacuate (passengers and staff), the emergency services and the needs of those sustaining critical support functions. Within such scenarios operational functions change as staff implementing emergency procedures and control is shared with response agencies. Functional aspects of the infrastructure will change as required to maintain the safety of passengers and personnel and the integrity of the infrastructure; for example, altered management of lifts, inclusion of temporary barriers and use of alternative or ‘agile’ mustering points. With the support of wayfinding designers and specialists, an airport can have complete control of ensuring wayfinding best serves the safety of the airport community (tenants, staff and passengers) through the design of terminal. It does require close consultation with the emergency service organisations, as well as tenants, and should take account of normal operations, heightened threat, emergency evacuation and business recovery periods. Using a user-centred design approach, coupled with an understanding of human factors and behaviours, the differences between these operational periods can be examined, the space designed, and wayfinding products incorporated accordingly. A very simple example is that, for airports who have identified marauding armed assault as a credible risk, the airport must design the space, including the use of wayfinding products, that drive a certain behaviour during a highly stressful period of time. Examples of wayfinding methods in this case could include open areas that represent safety and are obvious to people when decision-making is likely to be impaired; avoiding ‘dead-ends’ in the building or, if they exist due to legacy infrastructure, installing wayfinding products that intuitively lead or overtly direct people away from those points. Consideration 5 – Multi-user and Coordinated Approach Challenges for the airport will arise where it does not own a terminal interfacing asset, and therefore the wayfinding strategy. Typical examples include rail stations at airports. It is imperative that wayfinding strategies are coordinated and aligned so as to minimise confusion during periods of evacuation. The strategy might include arrangements such as simple alignment of signage (colour and style), avoiding cross
flow of evacuation routes, and consistency in communications such as language and instruction.
Consideration 6 – Design for Inclusivity
A good design process is very inclusive of the people we are aiming to help. Inclusivity goes far beyond the consideration of only physical characteristics – the definition of a person of reduced mobility (PRM) now correctly includes those individuals who may contextually have a reason for reduced mobility (such as individuals travelling with multiple children), as well as those whose mobility is affected by other characteristics (such as sensory or cognitive disability). An individual is defined by multiple factors, including their knowledge and experience, confidence and familiarity (situational characteristics), physical/sensory/cognitive capability, as well as their culture, religion and familial characteristics (social characteristics). The challenge of ‘inclusivity’ is significantly increased when negotiating the security screening process. Notoriously a point of heightened stress, frustration and anxiety – and perhaps the weakest link in the experience chain – how do we ensure that physical or cognitive disability, and hence difficulties in complying with rigid process, or further cultural differences, do not exacerbate detrimental social or emotional outcomes. Messaging, signage and human interaction can all be used to communicate, support, reassure and include all passengers in this vital process.
As technology and how people use space change, integrated wayfinding experience must consider every potential touchpoint as an opportunity to deliver consistent and relevant information to people. Designers must shape the moments beyond signage including architecture, interiors, printed materials, staff interactions, and digital wayfinding. In order to do this, design will have to constantly work to understand shifting human behaviours and experiment with new solutions. As people and spaces evolve, how we design must also change. For security specifically, a balance must be struck between providing an excellent passenger experience whilst accommodating needs during other operational situations.
Imagine a travel experience that could better anticipate human needs and provide relevant information at every stage. Imagine clear and consistent messaging across all signage, displays and devices. An environment that intuitively connects and guides passengers and staff to their objectives. Also, think of how the use of digital technology can help operations teams make adjustments during peak or emergency situations.
Paul McConnell focuses on using design methods and technology to solve human, business, and civic problems. As Head of Arup’s Digital Studio he guides multidisciplinary teams towards breakthrough solutions that take shape in digital products, services, and physical spaces. Paul is a published author, conference speaker, and serves as a visiting professor at Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts.
Mandana Kazem is a Principal Human Factors Consultant, Systems Engineer and Technical Manager at Arup, and is a lead in Human Factors and User Centred Design – supporting organisations across industries to unlock the capability of the human within the system. Mandana helps clients develop products, systems, infrastructure, processes and organisations, that enhance human performance, engagement and experience.
Airport IT Systems Market By Top Players like Amadeus IT Group, Rockwell Collins, INFORM, Siemens, IBM, Ultra Electronics Holdings and Forecast 2026
The Top Key Players include: Resa airport data systems, Amadeus IT Group, Rockwell Collins, INFORM, Siemens, IBM, Ultra Electronics Holdings, Northrop Grumman Corporation, SITA, Thales Group, IKUSI.
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The Top Key Players include: Resa airport data systems, Amadeus IT Group, Rockwell Collins, INFORM, Siemens, IBM, Ultra Electronics Holdings, Northrop Grumman Corporation, SITA, Thales Group, IKUSI.
Market with Global Innovations, New Business Developments and Top Companies – Forecast to 2023
“Airport Information Systems (AIS) Market Overview: Airports are constantly seeking new methods to improve their operational efficiencies and enhance passenger air travel. Airport information systems support the business goals of ensuring an efficient, passenger-friendly, and cost-effective airport operation. They also interface and integrate most of the electronic information within the airport, thus ensuring the smooth flow of information for operations, management, and security.
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Major Key Players of the Airport Information Systems (AIS) Market are: Amadeus IT Group,,HCL Infosystems,,RESA,,Rockwell Collins,,Thales Group,,Cisco Systems,,IBM,,Microsoft,,NEC,,Ultra Electronics Holdings,,Siemens Postal,,INFORM,,Intersystems Group,,VELATIA,,Lufthansa Systems,,
Major Types of Airport Information Systems (AIS) covered are: , Airport Operation Control Centers (AOCC), Departure Control Systems (DCS).
Major Applications of Airport Information Systems (AIS) covered are: , Class-A Airport, Class-B Airport, Class-C Airport, Class-D Airport,
Airport Information Systems (AIS) market was valued at Million US$ in 2017 and is projected to reach Million US$ by 2023, at a CAGR of during the forecast period. In this study, 2017 has been considered as the base year and 2019 to 2023 as the forecast period to estimate the market size for Airport Information Systems (AIS).
Regional Airport Information Systems (AIS) Market (Regional Output, Demand & Forecast by Countries):-North America (United States, Canada, Mexico)South America ( Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile) Asia Pacific (China, Japan, India, Korea) Europe (Germany, UK, France, Italy) Middle East Africa (Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran) And More.
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A drone standards expert says remotely piloted aircraft should be added into the global mapping systems used in the aviation sector to help pilots avoid collisions.
James Dunthorne, standards director for the Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, has called for a single map showing all airborne aircraft, according to the Press Association.
A total of 117 near-miss reports have been filed, data up to late last year has shown, although none have involved fatalities.
Last December Gatwick faced an onslaught of delays and cancellations after drones were spotted flying in the airport’s airspace. The drone operators may have had help from staff working at the airport itself, Gatwick’s chief operating officer recently said.
“What we saw happening at Gatwick was a huge amount of confusion, a lack of preparedness, there was also not the right technology installed to be able to combat these machines,” Dunthorne said at a conference on drones at the Innovation Factory in West Belfast.
“Since that has happened this has raised awareness around aerodromes around the country and they have changed the way they are doing things.”
He said airport managers have since created emergency action plans but noted that laws and regulations can only do so much: “criminals will always do criminal behaviours.”
“We have a good framework of regulations, we just need now for aerodromes to be able to integrate drones into those areas of airspace effectively.
“If you have only got disparate systems how do we integrate air taxis, how do we integrate drones, how does a helicopter pilot know where a drone is when it is flying around?
“These are the things where we need a single map of the world in terms of air transportation so that any particular aircraft can see any other particular aircraft.”
He added that there was clearly a risk of mid-air collisions from drones being flown in areas where in the past it had been relied on the pilot to avoid those situations from happening.
“Clearly with the number of near-misses that has not been sufficient.
“It is clear that eyes are not good enough for avoiding collisions. Every year we see countless mid-air collisions between manned aviation.
“I knew people personally who have died through mid-air collision through manned aviation, so people’s eyes are not good enough to be able to avoid collisions. What we need is a digital solution to this.”
Last year the Home Office launched a consultation on proposals to bolster stop and search powers in order to allow police to be more rigorous in dealing with people who intend to use drones for illegal purposes in the UK.
While many architects focus on the outward structure and form of a building, much of Jewel’s beauty lies within the 135,700 sq m development. The centrepiece of Jewel is a five-storey garden with a 40m-tall indoor waterfall and more than 2,000 trees and palms.
“That is the difference between the 10 minute ‘wow’ and the long lived ‘wow’,” said the Canadian-Israeli designer.
When he first discussed with property developer CapitaLand for a thematic attraction to go with the retail space for Jewel, he said “the obvious ideas started flying around”.
“Dinosaurs, an aquarium, some thematic kind of attraction. But we, as the architects in the room, resisted this notion of something limited.”
“Why would passengers want to come back again after seeing it once?”
Instead, he aimed for an attraction that would appeal to every age and income group.
“That led me to think of some kind of great paradise and a mystical garden. Something that would be appropriate for an airport and that is a place of serenity and repose.”
He drew inspiration from the science fiction film Avatar (2009), which had a landscape that he says blew his mind.
“At some point we tried to get a hanging rock for the garden. To be placed in the middle of the dome. But it was too heavy.”
The shape of the building, he says, is like a doughnut, or in geometrical terms, a torus.
The unique shape means that rain that falls on the dome naturally collects towards the centre, thus forming the building’s indoor waterfall.
The HSBC Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, features water falling through the roof at a velocity of 10,000 gallons per minute.
The water is then circulated through pipes concealed within the building. A water tank with a 500,000-litre capacity is stored at basement three of Jewel. Rainwater is also harvested for the landscape irrigation system.
While Mr Safdie had quite a free hand, he faced some challenges while designing Jewel.
One consideration was the existing Skytrain tracks that will run through Jewel.
“When we designed the torus, we wanted it to be symmetrical with the oculus in the middle. That would have meant that since the train runs in the centre line of the building – that every train coming through would get a train wash. I think that would have caused issues.”
So the oculus of the torus had to be moved off-centre, which was a “geometric nightmare”. But he said the asymmetry makes the building more beautiful and “created a tension in the geometry”.
Another challenge was height restrictions – the development had to be below the radar of Changi Airport’s iconic control tower.
“That limited us to about 37m above street level. We could have used more height to get more curvature to the dome as it would have been more efficient.”
But the biggest challenge, said Mr Safdie, was making sure that the building was comfortable for both people and plants.
“We needed to get enough sunlight in for the plants but still keep the temperature at a comfortable 24 degrees for the people.”
Besides air-conditioning, there are also chilled pipes in the floors and fogging devices near the top of the waterfall to cool the air. In an open space in Canopy Park, retractable shades have been mounted on the roof to help provide shade.
Asked what he thinks of comments that Jewel looks like MBS, Mr Safdie is unperturbed.
“If Jewel looks like Marina Bay Sands, then I look like a horse. I can’t see it. Yes, it has similar ingredients, it has shopping and gardens. But in essence they are totally different.”
DUBLIN Airport is taking part in a trial that uses biometrics to help passengers seamlessly travel between two airports.
The trial, which is being undertaken by Dublin Airport, Bristol Airport and an airline partner, is thought to be the first trial that enables passengers use the same biometric system at their departure and arrival airports and with their airline.
The public trial, which passengers can opt for voluntarily, will start in Dublin this month and uses technology developed by US company Collins Aerospace, whereby a single sign up identification process streamlines the passenger’s outbound and return journey.
A passenger who opts into the SelfPass process will have the biometric data from their passport securely stored, which will help speed up the their journey.
The biometric information is used at self-service check-in and is linked to their boarding card and their self-drop bag tag.
Using facial recognition technology, their image is checked at the boarding gate and cross referenced with the boarding card information automatically, which means they don’t have to present any documents at the gate.
“We are really pleased to be an early adopter of this new technology designed to further enhance the experience for both our passengers and our airline customers at Dublin Airport,” said Frances O’Brien, Vice President of PMO for daa.
“We are delighted with the early progress of the trial in testing so far and we look forward to extending the technology to a wider audience, including passengers travelling to the US, in the coming months.
Vice President of Global Airport Systems for Collins Aerospace, Christopher Forrest, said Dublin and Bristol airports were changing the way passengers travel and making the process easier and more efficient.
“For example, it takes less than one second to capture and process a passenger’s facial image and eliminates the need to repeatedly present travel documents,” he explained.
“We see this as another major leap forward for our biometric technology to play a key role in making the connected aviation ecosystem a reality.”
Last year, Dublin Airport welcomed 31.5 million passengers, which was a six percent increase on the previous 12 months. Passenger numbers are up nine percent in the first two months of this year, as more than four million passengers have used the airport in January and February.
A night walk in Dubai International Airport. Sightseeing Terminal 1 and 3. Terminal 3 is the second-largest building in the world by floor space and the largest airport terminal in the world. Click here ⏬ to see Highlights, Guide and Equipment. Dubai International Airport is the third-busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic, the sixth-busiest cargo airport in world and the busiest airport for Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 movements.