Sita has launched WorldTracer Lost and Found Property, an artificial intelligence-enabled solution that aims to solve a “million-dollar headache” for the air transport industry: how to quickly return items left behind on aircraft or in airports to their owners.
The company says that every year passengers leave millions of items – including phones, wallets and bags – on planes and in airports, costing the industry millions of dollars in repatriation costs. It can cost up to $95 to manage and repatriate a lost item, including registration, handling enquiries and customer calls, storage and postage.
Leveraging Sita’s WorldTracer solution, which is used in 2,200 airports by the majority of the world’s airlines, Lost and Found Property reportedly cuts the cost of repatriating lost items by 90 per cent. Airline employees can register a found item, create a missing item report, and validate a match in under two minutes. The solution also dramatically speeds up the time taken to find and return found items, with 60 per cent of these items returned within the first 48 hours.
The process of handling lost property today is also still largely manual. Multiple stakeholders are involved, and very often the airline lacks control or visibility of the entire chain of events. Further complicating this manual process is the protracted time taken to match an item to a missing report. Passengers can now register a claim using their mobile device in a matter of seconds to report, pay for and organise repatriation as well as track their item at every step.
Using “cutting-edge technology” such as computer vision, machine learning and natural language processing, WorldTracer Lost and Found Property searches a global database of images and descriptions to match the found item to a missing item report. The solution uses image recognition to identify details such as brand, material and colour of the missing item. It is also recognises similar words in the description to make a definitive match.
The airline can then immediately notify the owner and have the item returned to them. The passenger and the airline have full visibility of the process through the WorldTracer portal no matter where in the world the item was lost, a feature that is expected to significantly improve passenger satisfaction.
Sita Airports and Borders CEO, David Lavorel, said: “WorldTracer is a great example of how Sita continues to evolve its portfolio to meet the changing demands of the industry. For almost three decades WorldTracer has helped to successfully trace mishandled bags. Now, using new technology, we are adding further value by helping the industry be more efficient and reduce costs around lost items at a time when it is most needed.”