Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.
The Escatek concept offers a new way to register, pass security and make immigration checks in airports and other travel hubs. These three steps could be completed in less than a minute during the escalator ride to the departure gates.
My wife Pascale had the idea for the Escatek concept. We travel quite often and she recently asked me if it was possible to improve the screening process using existing technologies and infrastructures, so the Escatek is a first proposal to simplify and accelerate the whole process leading to a commercial flight.
How it works
When travelers arrive at the airport, rather than waiting in a separate security line, they would just walk toward the nearest Escatek on their way to the boarding gate and place their passport on the left side of the machine and their luggage on the right.
The linear robotic passport conveyor would then check if the passport is valid and if the person is registered for an upcoming flight. It would then register them for their flight and perform all other necessary background checks on the passport and set in motion a process to alert the authorities if needed (security, immigration, airline personnel, etc.).
The luggage conveyor would check if the bags contain dangerous or prohibited items using multiple types of scanners. Each suitcase would be photographed, weighed, and associated with its owner automatically.
Large bags would be sent into the cargohold while hand baggage would be picked up by the passenger upon exiting the Escatek. If a problem was detected on a suitcase or more information was needed, it would be set aside for human intervention at the top of the escalator.
Each traveler embarking on The Escatek would pass through a portal where they would be identified by cameras and other equipment. Their height and weight would be recorded to optimize the ‘weight & balance’ of the aircraft and other equipment would be used to identify passengers and determine if they pose a threat to the flight or a country. The Escatek could even ask questions to each traveler and record their answers.
Technologies already exist to accomplish this type of fast and efficient check-in. The Escatek could even adapt its monitoring methods based on each individual (children, pregnant women, etc.) The optimal way to organize a new process is open for debate, but it is clear that we could all benefit from a faster and easier boarding process.
The Escatek could be sold and installed in all airports, ports, and bus and rail stations in the world. It could be offered in various versions according to the check-in, security, and immigration rules in each country. Airport employees would still work around the Escateks; they would just use them as a new tool. Scaled down versions could be sold to large shopping centers, sport complexes, or theaters and integrated into elevators.
The Escatek concept was developed in collaboration with Ashish Thulkar, an Industrial Designer from Bengaluru, India. Thulkar graduated with a master’s degree in design from the Indian Institute of Science in 2014. He currently works as a freelance vehicle designer. He also created the concept of the intermodal cargo plane and images of the commuting train.