Delta Air Lines explores robotic tech to bolster employee strength and safety

Delta Air Lines and Sarcos Robotics partner to explore new employee technology

Delta Air Lines is partnering with Sarcos Robotics to explore new employee technology fit for a superhero. Sarcos Guardian XO is a mobile and dexterous exoskeleton designed to boost employees’ physical capabilities and bolster their safety.

The battery-powered, full-body exoskeleton will boost human performance and endurance while helping to prevent injury. By bearing the weight of the suit and the payload, the exoskeleton may enable an employee to lift up to 200 pounds repeatedly for up to eight hours at a time without strain or fatigue.

“We owe it to the best airline employees on the planet to explore how emerging technology can make their jobs safer and easier,” said Gareth Joyce, Delta’s senior vice president – airport customer service & cargo. “That’s why we sought out a partnership with Sarcos.”

Trailblazers

Delta Air Lines is the first company whose frontline employees have worked directly with Sarcos to determine potential operational uses for the Guardian XO. In November 2019, Delta people representing Airport Customer Service and Cargo visited the Sarcos headquarters to see it in action. They also explored how wearable robotics could potentially benefit them in their everyday work.

The Guardian XO is designed for use in industries, which requires lifting and manipulation of heavy materials or awkward objects which aren’t easily handled by standard lift equipment. Potential uses at Delta could include handling freight at Delta Cargo warehouses and moving maintenance components at Delta TechOps. It could also lift heavy machinery and parts for ground support equipment.

Delta plans to test the technology in a pilot location during the first quarter of 2020. Employees will experience the tech in a real-world setting and can provide additional feedback on its functionality.

Delta Air Lines first started working with Sarcos in 2018 as part of its X-TAG, or exoskeleton technical advisory group, representing the aviation sector.

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