The Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority has announced more than 200,000 USD in grant funding through its Ford Launchpad for Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship (FLITE) programme.

In collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Seamless Ventures, Southwest Airlines and the West Michigan Aviation Academy, this programme funds the development of innovative technologies for the airport industry.

In addition, it provides pilot testing opportunities for companies focused on bringing emerging air travel technologies and solutions to market.

Snowbotix develops electric robots designed for various outdoor tasks like snow removal, sidewalk cleaning, and vegetation control
Snowbotix develops electric robots designed for various outdoor tasks like snow removal, sidewalk cleaning, and vegetation control

The companies participating in the programme’s fifth round include Cybernet Systems Corporation, Prospect Airport Services, and Snowbotix.

Ford International Airport Authority’s President and CEO Tory Richardson said:

We're delighted to welcome these dynamic companies that are at the forefront of pioneering innovative technologies shaping the future of air travel. These companies will help to elevate the passenger experience and enhance airport operations, ensuring the continuous evolution of the aviation industry.

These three companies will pilot their technologies at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) from February to April this year.

Cybernet Systems Corporation will assess its collision avoidance technology during the manual and autonomous operation of ground handling equipment. This will include navigating around aircraft, as well as operating in the airport’s restricted zones.

Cybernet Systems Corporation will assess its collision avoidance technology for the operation of ground handling equipment
Cybernet Systems Corporation will assess its collision avoidance technology for the operation of ground handling equipment

Meanwhile, Prospect Airport Services will evaluate the physical specifications, performance and integration of passenger service vehicles from three leading autonomous technology companies: Alba Robot, Blueberry Technology Inc. and Cyberworks Robotics.

Finally, Snowbotix will test its new multi-utility robot, SMUR1, to asses its speed and effectiveness for snow removal. In addition, it will evaluate its de-icing application and its ability to transition to summer tasks such as sweeping.

Specifically, Snowbotix will focus on analysing the robots’ impact on airport traffic, communication with maintenance, coordination with human crews and long-term cost savings.

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