Lonely Planet Writer

Geneva airport has introduced a baggage robot to take your luggage to the plane

Travellers at one European airport will no longer have to lug their baggage quite so far anymore with the introduction of a new luggage robot.

Passengers at Geneva Airport receive help with their bag drop from Leo, SITA's baggage robot
Passengers at Geneva Airport receive help with their bag drop from Leo, SITA’s baggage robot

Passengers at Geneva Airport are this week being met outside the main terminal building by Leo, a fully autonomous, self-propelling machine. The robot can check in bags, print tags, and carry up two suitcases with a maximum weight of 35kg. Even more niftily, it has an obstacle avoidance system and is designed to navigate a high-traffic area like an airport without bumping into passengers.

The baggage robot was launched by SITA, an airline technology company, which is hoping to automate the entire process of taking a flight. Their plan is for a baggage system that would see bags collected outside the terminal, then get loaded on to the airplane without the luggage ever needing to enter the building, or being handled by anybody other than the passenger.

Geneva Airport
Geneva Airport Image by eGuide Travel / CC BY 2.0

Curious travellers have been using Leo – named after Leonardo da Vinci –at Geneva simply by touching the bag drop touchscreen and popping their bags inside. SITA explained: “After the passengers have scanned their boarding passes, the luggage tags are printed and can be attached to the bag. With the bags loaded and tagged, the compartment door closes and Leo displays the boarding gate and departure time. Leo then takes the bag directly to the baggage handling area where they are sorted and connected to the correct flight. The doors of the robot can only be reopened by the operator unloading the baggage in the airport.”

The robot technology could mean fewer bags in future in airport terminals, reducing congestion and making it easier for passengers to get around. You can watch a video of Leo in action at Geneva Airport at SITA’s website. Dave Bakker of the company said: “Leo demonstrates that robotics holds the key to more effective, secure and smarter baggage handling and is a major step towards further automating bag handling in airports.”