Kiwi innovation, and collaboration, is turning global aviation logistics on its head, finally giving airlines the ability to track cargo in real time.
- With the air cargo industry seeking a cost-effective and simple way to wirelessly track cargo for many years, logistics specialists CORE Transport Technologies set out to create just that.
- The company worked with Callaghan Innovation to optimise its designs, accessing a range of expertise that also became a solid sounding board for CORE’s young team.
- With Air New Zealand the launch customer, CORE’s real-time, Bluetooth air cargo tracking system has been well received. Major US airlines have already adopted the technology with a queue of others ready to follow.
We wanted to put some scientific backing behind our design choices, so we used Callaghan Innovation to do studies that helped us create the ideal configuration.
- Ian Craig, Managing Director, Core Transport Technology
Losing baggage while travelling is everyone’s nightmare. For air cargo companies, the stakes are much higher and not having visibility over their goods can prove costly.
Given legacy technology has been expensive and not easy to use, CORE Transport Technology set out to give air cargo customers what they’ve wanted for a long time - real-time tracking and visibility.
CORE also wanted to do it in a new way, ideally using a wireless Bluetooth solution as opposed to its existing systems which were based on manually scanning barcodes.
CORE initially outsourced the design work to Asia, before eventually bringing it back inhouse. After which, the company teamed up with Callaghan Innovation, working with the Research and Development Solutions team to optimise its designs. This included reviewing existing technology, advising on systems architecture, evaluating equipment, and providing peer review of development work.
“We wanted to put some scientific backing behind our design choices, so we used Callaghan Innovation to do studies that helped us create the ideal configuration,” says Ian Craig, CORE’s Managing Director.
Callaghan Innovation’s experts also helped CORE’s young team to take their next steps. “Using us as a sounding board CORE TT has grown its technical team, both in capability and size,” Callaghan Innovation Communications Research Engineer Marco Meijer says.
At the forefront of transport and logistics technology, CORE is now giving major airlines the ability to wirelessly track shipments in real time. In fact, major US carriers Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines have now taken it up, and CORE has other clients queuing up for the technology.
“This is massively disruptive technology in aviation logistics,” Craig says.
CORE’s system works via Bluetooth tags installed on cargo containers, pallets and unit load devices (ULDs). Readers at airports automatically update an online application when a tagged item goes past, providing real-time information to airlines and their customers.
The next step is the ability to identify the exact location of an individual item within a storage facility, and CORE continues to work with Callaghan Innovation on calibrating how it performs inside densely packed warehouses.
Overall, CORE’s wireless tracking system is a fantastic example of a New Zealand company developing its own solution when it couldn’t find the products on the market it needed, Meijer says. And, to bolster the home-grown success story, Kiwi electronics manufacturer Nautech Electronics makes the tags and readers required for the system, and Air New Zealand was the launch customer.
Nathan Stantiall, Callaghan Innovation’s Business Innovation Adviser for manufacturing, says the CORE/Nautech collaboration is also a case-in-point of Kiwi businesses embracing the enormous opportunities offered by the ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ - the new fusion of physical and digital technologies.