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PIT, Carnegie Mellon Join for Aviation Innovation Lab

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) and Carnegie Mellon University have formed a partnership to develop new systems and technologies for the aviation industry. The effort is designed to enhance traveler experiences at PIT.

Under the deal, faculty and students from CMU’s Metro 21: Smart Cities Institute will research, develop and deploy several innovative projects throughout the airport.

“Carnegie Mellon University is a world-class organization and a leader in innovation and technology that has helped fuel the Pittsburgh region’s growth as a tech giant,” Christina Cassotis, CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority says. “We want the airport to be reflective of that same tech economy that’s revolutionizing our region. This partnership with CMU will allow the airport and the traveling public to be at the forefront of that innovation.”

CMU and Pittsburgh International Airport have been working together for three years on a variety of projects, several of which focus on access and inclusion. In announcing the more formal partnership, the two outlined a few recent efforts. In one case, researchers from CMU’s Traffic21 Institute developed a mobile application that identifies and guides drivers to empty parking spots located closest to terminal entryways, making long-term parking more convenient.

In addition, Pittsburgh International Airport and CMU’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy partnered on a series of student capstone projects, the fifth of which will be completed this semester. Teams have been investigating how to better understand the flow patterns of airport travelers, including improving the experience for travelers with reduced mobility. CMU’s Cognitive Assistance Lab also has been developing and testing NavCog, a smartphone-based navigation system to help people with visual impairments navigate the airport. The system provides step-by-step directions using Bluetooth Low Energy beacons throughout the airport.