dnata announces airport drone scheme

Global air services provider dnata has partnered with US tech start-up Gather AI to use drones at Dallas Fort-Worth.

dnata will use the drones in its warehouses at Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport (DFW) to digitise acceptance and warehouse inventory processes by monitoring shipments, with the technology promising 99.8% accuracy, the company said. 

Gather AI’s innovative software enables the drones to map the environment, collect inventory data, count cases, measure temperature, and read barcodes using only their cameras, without the need for any additional active infrastructure. The drones are paired to a tablet device providing live inventory data. The collected data can be viewed directly on the tablet or the web, via a user-friendly application.

The drones can operate at temperatures as low as -10°C, enabling dnata to take advantage of the technology in its state-of-the-art cool chain facilities, too. dnata plans to gradually roll out the drones across its global cargo network.

Sankalp Arora, Gather AI’s co-founder and chief robotics engineer, said: "Our drones gather label reads, inventory counts, temperature and volumetric data using AI, providing traceability across operations while providing exceptions against the facility inventory software. This transparency coupled with near-real-time visibility brings the power of analytics to physical spaces, minimising revenue leakage while helping develop trust across operations.”

Over the past year, dnata has significantly invested in new technology and digitalisation. The company’s investments include hi-tech cool dollies in Australia and Singapore, a UV cabin cleaning service in Switzerland, a baggage disinfection station in Singapore, a just-in-time freight handling platform in UAE, and thermal screening in the USA, as well as the network-wide rollout of a turnaround tool and IATA’s innovative Dangerous Goods AutoCheck (DG Autocheck) solution.