The Configured Air Load Building Tool system scans a pallet, effort to modernise aerial port 17112021 CREDIT US Dept Def.jpg
The Configured Air Load Building Tool system scans a pallet, effort to modernise aerial port (Picture: US Department of Defence).
USA

US Air Force trials aerial port of the future

The system being trialled creates 3D images of cargo and uses artificial intelligence to stack it more efficiently on pallets.

The Configured Air Load Building Tool system scans a pallet, effort to modernise aerial port 17112021 CREDIT US Dept Def.jpg
The Configured Air Load Building Tool system scans a pallet, effort to modernise aerial port (Picture: US Department of Defence).

The US Air Force has been trialling a system that creates 3D images of cargo and then uses AI (artificial intelligence) to stack it more efficiently on pallets.

436th Aerial Port Squadron at Dover Air Force Base was selected to test the Configured Air Load Building Tool (CALBT) system, which aims to increase pallet space use from the current 75% to 90%, streamline the process and allow cargo to reach its destination faster.

In layman's terms, CALBT is trying to automate and optimise the pallet-building process by taking 3D scans of incoming packages, figuring out the dimensions and information on the shipping label.

By using a tablet to scan labels, information like the transportation control number, priority, hazards and weight become readily available.

Christopher Decker, Headquarters Air Mobility Command innovations, systems and futures manager, said: "By efficiently automating the process on how we accept cargo and how we push that cargo through our facilities onto aircraft and how we receive cargo at the aerial port is how CALBT fits into the aerial port of the future."

The squadron was selected for initial testing due to its location and daily cargo movement.

More CALBT testing at the Super Port is scheduled for February 2022.