Making Science

Gatwick Airport introduces AR navigation powered by 2,000 beacons

Tyrone Stewart

Gatwick Airport AR navigationGatwick Airport has installed around 2,000 beacons across its two terminals, as part of its £2.5bn transformation programme. The beacons provide an AR indoor navigation system to help guide passengers – a ‘world first’ for an airport.

The AR wayfinding tool enables passengers to be shown directions through the camera view of their mobile device, so they can find their way to check-in areas, departure gates, baggage belts, and more.

“We are proud to be the first airport to deploy augmented reality technology and we hope that our adoption of this facility influences other airports and transport providers so that it eventually becomes the norm,” said Abhi Chacko, head of IT commercial & innovation at Gatwick Airport. 

The system is currently being integrated into some of the UK airport's apps, and the airport is in discussion with airlines to include the system in their apps too. The airport says these airlines could use the system, with the consent of their passengers, to send reminders to people running late for a flight or find out how far they are from making the flight.

Furthermore, the beacons can be used by retailers and other third parties to send relevant offers and promotional messages to passengers that have chosen to receive them.

“By providing the infrastructure we’re opening the door for a wide range of tech savvy airport providers, including our airlines and retailers, to launch new real-time services that can help passengers find their way around the airport, avoid missing flights or receive timely offers that might save them money,” said Chacko.