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May 27, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

There’s probably not an airport in the world that’s actually good at baggage-handling, but there’s only one that’s closed down as a result. According to US PC Week, the new Denver International Airport, built at a cost of $3,200m, is on hold indefinitely because the client-server software installed to manage the 4,000 baggage cars is sending them crashing into each other or leaving them stranded along the 22 miles of track. The system, designed by BAE Automated Systems Inc, is designed to take outbound luggage from any ticket counter or kerbside counter and deliver it to any part of the airport in less than 10 minutes, moving at up to 20 miles per hour on underground tracks. Laser scanners track the cars through the system, feeding their data to 80486-based personal computers in eight control rooms, which make routing decisions for their section of track. Using the location of the cars, as well as flight, gate, and routing information stored in a Raima Corp database on a central NetFrame Systems Inc NF250 server, the personal computers send commands to 92 programmable logic controllers, which control motors and track switches to shunt cars to their proper places. But during trials, according to PC Week, the cars crashed into each other at intersections and dumped luggage at the wrong place. Now, BAE programmers are writing new logic for both the OS/2-based car-routing application and the programmable controllers; but the city is still trying to recruit consultants to help them sort it all out.

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