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Baggage tracking system to face Xmas travel test

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 02:22

Dec. 13 - French-based aerospace company Airbus says it has the solution to a problem that plagues travellers and airlines all year - lost luggage. With a busy Xmas travel season approaching the company is testing new tracking technology in an effort to make air travel less stressful for passengers and keep them in constant touch with their luggage. Pavithra George reports.

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Lost luggage is an irritant for air travelers at the best of times, but in late December as millions take to to the skies to visit loved ones, it becomes a much bigger problem. Airbus however, thinks it has a solution. The company has collaborated with a luggage manufacturer and telecom company T-Systems to develop Bag2Go - a so-called "smart bag" that can easily be tracked by its owner with the help of a cell phone. Airbus Innovation Manager, Jan Reh says the technology will make life easier for travellers and airlines. SOUNDBITE (English JAN REH, INNOVATION MANAGER, AIRBUS, SAYING: "We hope that we can improve the overhaul baggage handing processes today with bag2go and this is also the aim. We are working together with the industry to see how we can solve and help the baggage handling and bag2go is one puzzle piece in this overall game to make baggage more controllable for airlines and to give passengers a better travel experience." Bag2go uses a sim card equipped with a sensor. Once installed inside a bag, the sim card displays an electronic baggage tag - similar to a bar code. The bag's owner punches flight details into a cell phone, which are transmitted directly to the sim card, allowing the bag, the owner and the airline to remain electronically connected at all times. If a bag ends up on the wrong plane, Bag2Go will alert both the airline as well as the bag's owner. Torsten Chudobba from T-Systems says its an obvious application for tracking technology. SOUNDBITE (English) TORSTEN CHUDOBBA, T-SYSTEMS, SAYING: " We have not developed something new. We just brought existing technologies together and optimized this for tracking and tracing. It's a combination of the new technology and ease of use and there is no further investment of the airport or who ever." SOUNDBITE (English) JAN REH, INNOVATION MANAGER, AIRBUS, SAYING: "It was very important for us to come up with a solution that was very easy to use for the passengers. When you see this, this is a conventional bag tag and this will be something of a past. What we are looking for is to get this on an electronic display so that this information can be displayed on the case and you can control this with your smart phone, so you can look where your bag is." According to Airbus, 3000 items of luggage get lost somewhere around the world every hour - that's 26 million lost or misplaced bags per year - a costly and frustrating problem the company believes Bag2Go can solve.

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Baggage tracking system to face Xmas travel test

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 02:22

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