Lost and found: Now AI to help get back items lost on a flight

By: |
April 7, 2021 1:00 AM

A new AI-based solution by SITA cuts costs by 90% and significantly reduces repatriation time

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.

These are pandemic times and air travel—both within the country as well as international—is severely restricted. However, during normal times, 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 upto $95 to manage and repatriate a lost item, including registration, handling inquiries and customer calls, storage and postage, estimates SITA, a well-known provider of IT and telecommunication services to the air transport industry.

SITA has debuted WorldTracer Lost and Found Property, an Artificial Intelligence-(AI) enabled solution that solves a million-dollar headache for the air transport industry: how to quickly return items left behind on aircraft or in airports to their owners. Leveraging SITA’s WorldTracer solution, which is used in 2,200 airports by the majority of the world’s airlines, Lost and Found Property cuts the cost of repatriating lost items by 90%. 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% 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.

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