Orlando, USA | October 15, 2018–

SD Avionics, the hardware manufacturing division of Satcom Direct, has partnered with QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH, a worldwide market leader in innovative aeronautical antennas, to develop a new flat panel connectivity antenna for business and military aviation. The electronically steered phased-array antenna system aims to be the smallest and most efficient form factor, bringing high speed connectivity to a wider range of aircraft. SD will be the exclusive provider of this antenna to business aviation, military and government markets globally. Compatible satellite network constellations will be announced next year.

Purpose fit for small to mid-size jets, where a tail-mounted antenna solution is not an option, the lightweight, low-profile design will bring high-speed connectivity to a wide range of airframes. Scalable and modular, the flat panel system conforms to the size and shape requirements of an individual aircraft fuselage without bringing excessive weight or power requirements.

SD Avionics is working with aircraft OEMs on product specification and development, targeting product launch in late 2020. Once available, the antenna system will become part of SD Xperience, bringing future-proof technology compatible with LEO and GEO satellite networks operating in multiple frequency bands to the portfolio.

“We are committed to providing global connectivity solutions across the business aviation sector. The introduction of this flat panel antenna will enable an even greater selection of connectivity options for a wider range of platforms around the world. Our investment means more passengers, crew, and flight departments will access reliable, secure connectivity to support their day-to-day operations,” said Jim Jensen, Founder and CEO of SD.

“Partnering with SD has enabled a dynamic development approach combining technical ingenuity with years of business aviation experience to help formulate a product that we know the market will welcome. We wanted to create technology to substantially improve connectivity access within the General Aviation market place and working with Satcom Direct has enabled us to do this.  We know the segment will benefit as a result,” said Dr. Joerg Oppenlaender, Chief Technology Officer of QEST.

Orlando, USA | October 15, 2018– SD Avionics, the hardware manufacturing division of Satcom Direct, has partnered with QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH, a worldwide market leader in innovative aeronautical antennas, to develop a new flat panel connectivity antenna for business and military aviation. The electronically steered phased-array antenna system aims to be the smallest and most efficient form factor, bringing high speed connectivity to a wider range of aircraft. SD will be the exclusive provider of this antenna to business aviation, military and government markets globally. Compatible satellite network constellations will be announced next year.

Purpose fit for small to mid-size jets, where a tail-mounted antenna solution is not an option, the lightweight, low-profile design will bring high-speed connectivity to a wide range of airframes. Scalable and modular, the flat panel system conforms to the size and shape requirements of an individual aircraft fuselage without bringing excessive weight or power requirements.

SD Avionics is working with aircraft OEMs on product specification and development, targeting product launch in late 2020. Once available, the antenna system will become part of SD Xperience, bringing future-proof technology compatible with LEO and GEO satellite networks operating in multiple frequency bands to the portfolio. A conceptual light-jet prototype is available for viewing at SD’s NBAA, booth 250 and static display SD40.

“We are committed to providing global connectivity solutions across the business aviation sector. The introduction of this flat panel antenna will enable an even greater selection of connectivity options for a wider range of platforms around the world. Our investment means more passengers, crew, and flight departments will access reliable, secure connectivity to support their day-to-day operations,” said Jim Jensen, Founder and CEO of SD.

“Partnering with SD has enabled a dynamic development approach combining technical ingenuity with years of business aviation experience to help formulate a product that we know the market will welcome. We wanted to create technology to substantially improve connectivity access within the General Aviation market place and working with Satcom Direct has enabled us to do this.  We know the segment will benefit as a result,” said Dr. Joerg Oppenlaender, Chief Technology Officer of QEST.

IoT specialist Sigfox to partner with Eutelsat for data analysis

Paris, France | March 8, 2018–

Eutelsat Communications (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL), one of the world’s leading satellite operators, has commissioned a nano-satellite from manufacturer Tyvak International SRL, a subsidiary of Terran Orbital Corporation, a leading aerospace provider of nanosatellite and microsatellite vehicles and services. Eutelsat LEO for Objects (ELO) will be used to assess the performance of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites in providing narrowband connectivity for objects. The satellite operator will be drawing on the technology of Sigfox, which runs a unique global narrowband network dedicated to the IoT.

Low earth orbit is particularly well-suited to narrowband connectivity for objects. It offers a satellite link anywhere in the world, is complementary to terrestrial IoT networks, and does not impact the cost or the energy consumption of the objects. ELO, scheduled for launch in 2019, will backhaul information from objects located in areas that are not served by terrestrial networks and offer redundancy on existing terrestrial network coverage.

Sigfox will work with Eutelsat on two aspects: analyse the spectrum used by the satellite in ISM[1]frequency bands; and process data from objects. ELO will also test connectivity in other frequency bands. The synergies developed through the partnership with Sigfox, as well as with other strategic alliances in the telecom industry, should open up new opportunities for Eutelsat in this fast-growing market.

Jean-Hubert Lenotte, Chief Strategy Officer at Eutelsat, commented: “With the expansion of the Internet of Things, new services are being developed in a wide range of sectors including smart cities, the mining industry, agriculture and logistics. We are delighted to be exploring new avenues through the development of this nano-satellite, which once again demonstrates the intrinsic complementarity between terrestrial networks and satellite technology. By analysing the compatibility of LEO and connected objects, and working with recognised partners in the field, Eutelsat aims to provide an innovative solution which will meet the needs of future clients.”

How does it work?

Located on a sun-synchronous orbit between 500 and 600 km in altitude, the satellite will collect data from connected objects across the globe equipped with the same omni-directional antennas already used by terrestrial IoT networks. Data will then be transmitted daily to a ground station located on Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.

Autonomous, mobile kiosks will move themselves to where they are needed in the airport

Geneva, Switzerland | May 22, 2017–  SITA Lab, which explores the future of technology in air travel, has unveiled KATE, an intelligent check-in kiosk that will autonomously move to busy or congested areas in the airport as needed, promising to relegate check-in queues to the past.

Using various data sources – including flight and passenger flow information – KATE can identify where additional check-in kiosks are required to reduce passenger queue times at check-in. KATE uses existing SITA data systems such as Day of Operations Business Intelligence and FlightInfo API.

Multiple robotic kiosks can be automatically or manually deployed simultaneously and in formation to assist passengers, providing airports and airlines greater flexibility in managing peaks in passenger flow. The kiosks can also communicate through a Cloud service to ensure that the right number of kiosks are at the right position when needed, making them highly responsive to changes in the airport. A design patent application for the kiosks is currently underway.

Renaud Irminger, Director of SITA Lab, said: “The peak and troughs in the flow of passengers presents a challenge to many airlines and airports and we have been approached by many customers requesting a solution. They want kiosks which can be easily deployed when and where they are needed. Building on SITA’s successful AirportConnect® Open platform, and our previous work with robotics, KATE leverages new technologies to provide operators much more flexibility and efficiency in the way they will use their kiosks in future.”

SITA’s cutting-edge robotic kiosk makes use of geo-location technology to find its way through the airport. KATE will use Wi-Fi to connect to vital airline and airport systems, dispensing with the need for cabling or other fixed attachments. This allows the kiosk to move around freely across the airport terminal, using obstacle avoidance technology to avoid bumping into people or things.

KATE and her fellow robotic kiosks will automatically return to their docking stations when they are low on power or need to be resupplied with boarding passes or bag tags.

One of the key benefits of SITA’s autonomous kiosk is that it can be deployed anywhere inside the airport as well as other offsite locations such as train stations. This is particularly relevant during periods of disruption – such as weather delays or flight cancellations – where additional kiosks can be moved from landside to airside to check-in large numbers of rebooked passengers. KATE provides passengers access to her easy-to-use interface to check-in and print bag tags.

KATE follows in the footsteps of LEO, SITA’s fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot launched at the 2016 Air Transport IT Summit in Barcelona, Spain last year.

KATE, SITA’s autonomous kiosk, will be on display at this year’s Air Transport IT Summit taking place in Brussels, Belgium from May 23-24, 2017.
Watch KATE in action in the following video clip: https://youtu.be/oQ69r-2VX-I

Next generation Cobham solution introduces significant reduction in total cost of ownership combined with industry leading high throughput, tracking accuracy and RF performance

Washington DC | March 6, 2017– Cobham has introduced a new disruptive technology platform for its expanded line of Sea Tel land-based tracking antennas. Designed as an enabler for the new breed of emerging high throughput LEO/MEO constellations that leverage cutting-edge CubeSat and SmallSat spacecraft, Cobham’s new tracking antennas lower the total cost of ownership by significantly reducing power consumption, in addition to delivering tangible savings on deployment and maintenance. Uniquely, Cobham’s next generation solution is delivered as a complete, integrated system including radome, antenna controller, feeds and customer specific RF (BUC and LNB) in addition to a built-in auto-tracking feature, improving link performance and contributing to higher throughput and availability of service for the end-user.

Currently available for L, S, C, X, Ku, Ka and E-band with antenna reflector sizes between 60 cm to 6 m, Cobham’s new Tracker range has re-written the land-based tracking antennas rulebook. Developed from the bottom up to merge over 20 years of Sea Tel land tracking antenna experience with Cobham’s cutting-edge maritime antenna stabilisation technology, the life-time cost savings facilitated by the new Tracker series supports established network operators and venture-funded start-ups to deliver even more competitive high-throughput satcom services for diverse users. Cobham has also addressed the traditional long lead time to delivery in the land-based tracking antenna segment, committing significant capacity to supporting mobility and growth in the LEO/MEO markets.

Headlining the unique new Sea Tel Tracker product line feature-set is Cobham’s new 3-Axis Zero Gravity technology for land antennas, which balances the entire system to deliver a step-change in power consumption for Cobham customers. The solution co-locates the antenna’s centre of gravity with its centre of rotation, resulting in an effortless track that requires almost no power. Regardless of size, all new Sea Tel Tracker antennas consume just 200 Watts, with further saving possible through the use of a 500-Watt back-up generator, compared to the >5KW back-up generator needed for competing antennas. A 90% reduction in capital outlay to provide power infrastructure can be achieved, while an 87%1 power consumption saving is typical.

The Cobham development team has considered all aspects of the total cost of ownership for the new Sea Tel Tracker range resulting in even more savings, including on the cost of site preparation and antenna deployment. Traditional land tracking antennas of over five meters in size require substantial foundations (up to 15ft) in order to ensure the antenna can operate and survive in high winds as well as negate shift in the base over time as the foundation settles. Due to the perfect balance of the system, Cobham’s new tracking antennas can operate in winds up to 155 mph, installed on just a 12 inch thick concrete grade pad with minimal rebar. They can even be installed temporarily on a bed of gravel while still maintaining a strong link to the network. This is achieved by automatic calibration routines which compensate for the movement of the base over time.

“The significant time and personnel commitment required to assemble antenna systems greatly contributes to the cost of system installation,” said Kirby Nell, Business Manager Large VSAT, Cobham SATCOM.“Traditional land tracking systems can take several months to build the foundation, pull power cables, install automatic power supplies and finally install the precision aligned and levelled antennas. It’s a complex, costly task, but Cobham has developed a better and simpler approach. Sea Tel Tracker antennas can be built by two skilled technicians in a matter of days. We have a heritage of being able to assemble systems quickly and easily for the maritime market, which informs our approach to deployment of the Tracker range.”

Further life-time cost savings for LEO/MEO network operators have been achieved by simplifying and reducing the requirements for on-site maintenance. Uniquely designed as a single unit, housing all components in the radome itself, the Sea Tel Tracker product line provides industry-leading Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF), so fewer engineer visits are required during the antenna’s lifecycle. Cobham’s sophisticated system design and intelligent component selection has simplified the overall system architecture, so many standard maintenance tasks take less than an hour, while many service issues can be handled remotely.

“By renewing our land tracking antenna technology platform, we can provide satellite network operators the ability to achieve a massive reduction in their operational overheads,” adds Pete Blaney, Chief Engineer, Cobham SATCOM. “Lowering the total cost of ownership across the network development and operational stages to such a level, our new Sea Tel Tracker range is set to become a catalyst for the industry to develop and implement more disruptive services that are not only possible at a new price-point for the network owner but will also help to bring costs down for end-users, while increasing performance and availability of service.”

  • Leo the robot to lend a helping hand to delegates departing from the city’s airport

Marrakech | November 14, 2016– Leo, the innovative baggage robot developed by air transport IT provider SITA, is in Marrakech for the COP22 climate talks taking place in the city from 7-18 November 2016. Leo, is being hosted by Royal Air Maroc, Morocco’s national carrier.

Leo will be on display in the main COP22 convention centre in Bab Ighli from 7-16 November before moving to Marrakech Manara Airport and Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport this week where the robot will assist delegates flying Royal Air Maroc to check-in their bags. SITA’s baggage robot will remain in Morocco until November 27 where the national airline will conduct numerous airport trials using Leo.

Abdelhamid Addou, Chairman & CEO of Royal Air Maroc, said: “The smart use of new technologies is undoubtedly the key to improving the passenger experience while helping airlines better manage a growing number of travelers in a more sustainable way. This requires out-of-the-box thinking and Leo is exactly the sort of innovative exploration that will help airlines and airports manage the new challenges we as an industry will face in the next decade.”

Leo is a fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot that has the capacity to check in, print bag tags and transport up to two suitcases with a maximum weight of 32kg. It also has an obstacle avoidance capability and can navigate in a high-traffic environment such as an airport.

Leo provides a glimpse into the future of baggage handling being explored by SITA Lab and is the first step to automating the baggage process from the moment passengers drop their bags to when they collect them. Using robotics and artificial intelligence, bags will be collected, checked in, transported and loaded onto the correct flight without ever having to enter the terminal building or be directly handled by anyone other than by the passengers themselves.

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa said: “Through the innovative work of the SITA Lab we are able to tackle some of the key challenges that face airlines and airports today. Leo demonstrates that technologies such as robotics can help the air transport industry manage the growth in traffic in a more sustainable way while offering passengers an unencumbered journey through the airport and onto the aircraft.”

Leo comes to the assistance of passengers as they approach the terminal building. Touching Leo’s Scan&Fly bag drop interface opens the baggage compartment doors to allow passengers to place their bags inside. After the passengers have scanned their boarding passes, the tags are printed and can be attached to the bag. With the bags loaded and tagged, the compartment door closes and Leo displays the boarding gate and departure time. Leo then takes the bags directly to the baggage handling area where they are sorted and connected to the correct flight.

  • SITA Baggage Robot Visits Singapore and Hong Kong


Singapore | October 20, 2016–
Leo, the innovative baggage robot, is touring Asia, with visits to Singapore and Hong Kong. Leo is a fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot which provides a glimpse into the future of baggage handling that is being explored by SITA Lab the technology research team at global IT provider SITA.

After spending time at some of SITA’s key customer locations, Leo can be caught in action at the Future Travel Experience Asia EXPO 2016 taking place 25 – 26 October in Singapore. This is Asia’s biggest free-to-attend passenger experience expo and this year the expected combined attendance of 3,000+ will have the chance to see Leo up close.

Leo, the baggage robot, has the capacity to check in, print bag tags and transport two suitcases. It also has an obstacle avoidance capability and can navigate in a high-traffic environment such as an airport. It is the first step to automating the baggage process from the moment passengers drop their bags to when they collect them.

Ilya Gutlin, SITA President Asia Pacific, said: “At SITA, innovation is a key driver of our business. It’s at the heart of everything we do. Our focus is on collaboratively developing technology solutions and services for the air transport industry, working with our airline and airport partners to stimulate technological innovation. It is great that we can share the experience that our technology research team SITA Lab has gained during the development of Leo, the baggage robot, here in Asia.”

This robot is a perfect example of how innovative thinking, neatly integrated with the systems in use across airlines and airports, can transform the passenger experience. Using robotics and artificial intelligence, Leo demonstrates how bags can be collected, checked in, transported and loaded onto the correct flight without ever having to enter the terminal building or be directly handled by anyone other than the passengers themselves.

Next stop for Leo is Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) where it will be on show for the participants of HKIA’s second Technovation Conference and Exhibition which will be focusing on smart airports.

  • Leo the robot speeds up bag drop by collecting passengers’ baggage before they enter the terminal

Geneva | May 17, 2016– Passengers arriving at Geneva Airport in the past few days have received help with their bag drop from Leo, an innovative baggage robot developed by air transport IT provider SITA, which is being trialed outside the airport’s Terminal 1.

Leo is a fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot that has the capacity to check in, print bag tags and transport up to two suitcases with a maximum weight of 32kg. It also has an obstacle avoidance capability and can navigate in a high-traffic environment such as an airport.

Leo provides a glimpse into the future of baggage handling being explored by SITA Lab and is the first step to automating the baggage process from the moment passengers drop their bags to when they collect them. Using robotics and artificial intelligence, bags will be collected, checked in, transported and loaded onto the correct flight without ever having to enter the terminal building or be directly handled by anyone other than the passengers themselves.

Leo – named after the Italian Renaissance inventor and engineer Leonardo da Vinci who built what is now recognized as the world’s first robot – comes to the assistance of passengers as they approach the terminal building. Touching Leo’s Scan&Fly bag drop interface opens the baggage compartment doors to allow passengers to place their bags inside. After the passengers have scanned their boarding passes, the tags are printed and can be attached to the bag. With the bags loaded and tagged, the compartment door closes and Leo displays the boarding gate and departure time.

Leo then takes the bags directly to the baggage handling area where they are sorted and connected to the correct flight. The doors of the robot can only be reopened by the operator unloading the baggage in the airport.

The use of robots such as Leo means that in future fewer bags and trolleys will enter the airport terminal, reducing congestion and making airport navigation easier.

Dave Bakker, President Europe at SITA said: “Through the innovative work of the SITA Lab we are able to tackle some of the key challenges that face airports today. Leo demonstrates that robotics hold the key to more effective, secure and smarter baggage handling and is major step towards further automating bag handling in airports. Leo also provides some insight into the potential use of robots across the passenger journey in future.”

Massimo Gentile, Head of IT at Genève Aéroport, said: “In a busy airport such as Geneva Airport, the use of a robot such as Leo limits the number of bags in the airport terminal, helping us accommodate a growing number of passengers without compromising the airport experience inside the terminal. Leo also proves the case for increased use of robotics to make passengers’ journey a little more comfortable, whether it is checking in baggage, providing directions or helping them through the security process.”

Leo, which was built for SITA by BlueBotics, is part of SITA’s showcase of technology at the 2016 Air Transport IT Summit taking place from 24-26 May in Barcelona.

To watch Leo in action at Geneva Airport click on the following link: www.sita.aero/baggagerobot