A Research Platform for Singapore

The Aviation Challenge 2

Robotic Automation of the Cargo Handling process at the Singapore Changi Cargo Airport.

External Link: ac2.tumcreate.org

Goal / Challenge

The aviation industry in Singapore is facing a manpower crunch. Labour-intensive areas such as ground-handling operations at Changi Airport are especially affected. In particular, the build-up and breakdown of cargo pallets is a highly laborious process. With the aim of automating this process, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) set up and funded the Aviation Challenge 2.

TUM CREATE is one of the three teams funded to build a proof-of-concept demonstrator to meet the challenge. A high” Technology Readiness Level” automation system combing sensor based robot technology, novel mechatronics and advanced control is being developed as part of TUM CREATE’s efforts.

Approach / Methodology


The system uses advanced 3D sensing technology and multi-modal fusion to perceive the environment. It generates knowledge about the state of the environment in real-time by spatio-temporal localisation and classification of the dynamic process entities.


The process execution is facilitated by a cognitive architecture which uses input from the perception system and advanced computational models to generate an optimized sequence of actions. The actions are mapped to the available actuators in the system such that the process is optimized in terms of time, energy and cost.


The decisions made in the cognition loop are grounded to physical actions through the robot system. Actions involving interaction with humans are achieved through multi-modal user interfaces.