Gatwick has installed 2,000 indoor navigation beacons, which it says will enable “augmented reality wayfinding” at the airport.
The London airport says that the beacons provide an indoor navigation system which is “much more reliable than GPS”, enabling third parties, airlines and the airport itself to develop augmented reality wayfinding tools within their apps.
Gatwick said that the new navigation technology is currently being integrated into some of the airport’s apps, and it is in discussions with airlines for them to do the same.
Examples of how the technology could be used include sending out reminders to late running passengers, or finding out their location in order to “make an informed decision on whether to wait or offload their luggage so the aircraft can take off on time”.
The airport stressed that airlines would need the consent of the passenger to do this, adding that “No personal data will be collected by Gatwick although generic information on ‘people densities’ in different beacon zones may help to improve airport operations including queue measurement, streamlining passenger flows and reducing congestion”.
Commenting on the initiative Abhi Chacko, Head of IT Commercial and Innovation, Gatwick Airport, said:
“By providing the infrastructure we’re opening the door for a wide range of tech savvy airport providers, including our airlines and retailers, to launch new real-time services that can help passengers find their way around the airport, avoid missing flights or receive timely offers that might save them money.
“We are proud to be the first airport to deploy augmented reality technology and we hope that our adoption of this facility influences other airports and transport providers so that it eventually becomes the norm.”
Gatwick recently passed the 44 million annual passengers milestone, a record for a single runway airport.