…by deploying robots to prevent or detect criminal actions at the handler’s facilities and truck parking areas at Chek Lap Kok Airport. The example could set a precedent and be adopted by
other airports because high value goods have long been a potential target of pilferage in air freight on all continents.
This is documented in the Annual Report of the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), released 2020 and covering losses occurred in 2019. According to TAPA’s findings, 6,463 cargo thefts were reported across 56 countries in Europe Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) that year. But the figures are likely to be much higher than the numbers reported because the data collection as a basis for the obtained figures was restricted by the Covid pandemic at the end of 2019, and the year after. That this is a universal problem, is shown by the following figure published by TAPA: The average daily loss for recorded cargo crimes in 2020 amounted to €471,432 (US$512,792).
Robocops take over surveillance tasks
This also affects air freight in Hong Kong, although reliable figures are not available. However, why else would ground operator HACTL have opted to deploy “robocops” if not to minimize or even abolish the problem in the best case.
The first security robot is ready to enter service, initially patrolling car and truck parking areas, and export goods handling areas. This robotic surveillance task will be exercised mainly during the peak night-time period, but also during daylight hours as required.
In addition to stepping up anti-theft measures, the new security robots will also monitor the condition of cargo throughout at the company’s large Terminal 1, and will record any incidents of damage, to provide video evidence in the event of claims investigations, a release announces.
The robots feature fancy technology. They are equipped with a thermal imaging camera, a high-resolution camera with a wiper for outdoor use, a LiDar technology sensor for navigation, and multiple ultrasonic sensors for collision avoidance. They are able to operate on any paved surface.
Wilson Kwong, Chief Executive of HACTL, explains: “The security robots will complement our existing CCTV system, providing footage from more angles to assist in security and cargo claims evaluation. Their presence will also send a clear message that HACTL is maintaining thorough observation of all its operational areas around the clock.”
HACTL pioneers robotic services
The executive goes on to say: “By reducing reliance on human patrols, we are freeing up valuable night shift security staff resources to focus on making our security regime even more proactive, flexible, and responsive to any incidents. This is a significant step forward in strengthening our overall security program.”
The utilization of robots is not a new area of activity for Hong Kong’s largest ground handling agent. During the Covid pandemic, HACTL deployed sanitization robots to lower the risk of infection among its headcounts. More recently the company launched a robotic Automated Parts Store to dispense urgent spare parts which are needed 24/7 to maintain its automated handling systems. Now, this is complemented by security robocops to make cargo handling even safer.
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