- Atlanta is exploring an innovation center at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to test new ideas for aviation and other industries using the airport’s resources, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
- Among the topics Atlanta says the lab will cover are connectivity, branding, mobility and communication.
- The city will host a public meeting on June 19 to discuss the project and has put out a request for proposals due by June 27.
Other airports — including San Diego’s and Munich’s in Germany — have adopted innovation labs to work on ideas on how to improve the airport experience or use space and resources to test innovations in fields such as mobility. Pittsburgh last month agreed to partner with Carnegie Mellon University’s smart cities institute for similar innovation work, building on projects including parking efficiency and a smartphone-based navigation system for the visually impaired.
Such partnerships can take advantage of the resources and large user base for airports; San Diego even uses a decommissioned terminal as a testing site. Partnering with nearby universities or researchers can help them get into the airport market, which can have a high barrier for entry given the security and technical challenges.
As the world’s busiest airport, handling more than 100 million passengers last year, Atlanta would offer an appealing spot for an innovation lab. Not only is there plenty of potential for research projects, given the sheer volume at the airport, but new ideas can also be put on display for a large audience. Innovations made at the Atlanta airport could no doubt then be scaled down for other airports.