DENTON (UNT), Texas — Ever been lost in an airport terminal or nearly miss a flight because you were late? An airport app concept created by University of North Texas students may provide the answer to these and other air travel issues. The app, unveiled at the American Association of Airport Executives conference this month in Houston, is designed to give flight passengers easier travel experiences.
The app – Paeros – helped the UNT team dominate during the student research competition hosted at the association's annual conference, considered a premier event for aviation professionals. Incidentally, this was also the first time UNT aviation logistics have competed in an external contest. The students – Michael Hafner of Ovilla, Texas; David Looney of Austin, Texas; Austin Stromberg of Lake Jackson, Texas; and Hong Yun Yong of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – won first place during the student research contest.
"Paeros is like 'Google Maps' for inside an airport terminal," said David Looney, UNT's team captain and president of the UNT student chapter of the association. "But what makes this unique is the capability for airport personnel to tap into the system to increase the safety and situational awareness for both customers and employees."
Similar technology for navigating airports exists, but the UNT student concept pulls data from across terminals nationwide into a single app – saving time, and potentially money, for passengers who would otherwise be compelled to use individual systems for each airport they travel to. It also provides micro-location iBeacons that gives passengers the option to provide their location to carriers and airport managers. This is data passengers can opt to share if they are running late for a flight or if an emergency or safety concern occurs that they want to inform airport personnel about, said Looney.
"The idea for this app spotlights UNT's business approach to aviation education," said Steve Joiner, aviation logistics lecturer and faculty advisor for the winning team. "Airport managers today are basically managing the logistics of a small city. Other institutes have aviation degrees with a business application, and while the difference may be nuanced, it has a huge impact in the actual business application to the industry."