More robots are coming to help international travelers. ADR Ventures yesterday announced its initial investment in Ottonomy Inc., which has developed autonomous mobile robots for contactless deliveries. Ottonomy recently demonstrated a successful proof of concept during an accelerator program in the Innovation Hub at Rome's Fiumicino International Airport.
“We are honored to continue to work with ADR Ventures and the Innovation Hub to further the impact and convenience in the airport environment using technology,” stated Ritukar Vijay, CEO of Ottonomy, in a press release.
“ADR is truly committed to being a leader in innovation and bringing excellence and new experience to its customers,” he added. “The partnership and a multiyear contract with ADR is at the forefront of the future of the travel experience for customers all over the world.”
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Ottonomy.IO said it provides “hyperlocal” deliveries with its Ottobots, enabling scarce staffers to do more through a robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) model. The deep tech startup's delivery robots have been operating in airports, starting with Cincinnati International Airport (CVG) and in Europe at Rome Fiumicino International Airport (FCO).
Ottonomy on 'Runway to the Future'
Ottonomy said it took part in the Innovation Hub's “Runway to the Future” acceleration program in September 2022, offering added convenience to travelers via autonomous delivery. Air passengers could purchase retail items and get them delivered right up to the gate in a “digital and completely frictionless experience,” the company said.
During the proof of concept (PoC), Ottonomy said it achieved the following key performance indicators (KPIs) at Fiumicino International Airport:
- More than 150 km (93.2 mi.) traveled in terminals by Ottobots
- Zero accidents at the airport
- More than 300 clients used the service
- Three minutes delivery time on average
Ottobot demonstrates autonomous deliveries
ADR Ventures, the new corporate venture capital arm of Aeroporti di Roma (ADR), said the autonomous delivery project is part of its “long-term strategy aimed at maintaining the highest levels of service and enhancing passengers' experience using cutting edge technology and innovation.”
“Our first investment is an additional step towards building the airport of the future, which will be more autonomous and passenger-centric. These are two characteristics that we have found in Ottonomy, both in terms of their team and technology,” said Emanuele Calà, president and CEO of ADR Ventures. “We are looking forward to a great future together. We believe that this partnership will open new opportunities in the industry and help transform the traveler experience in airports worldwide.”
Rome Airports' corporate and strategic partners included Plug & Play Tech Center. They developed the “Runway to the Future” program set in ADR's Innovation Hub, which they claimed is the first industrial accelerator inside an airport, with senior mentorships of ADR's Innovation Cabin Crew.
The Open Innovation Program of Aeroporti di Roma focuses on joint development with select international startups for up to eight months within the Innovation Hub. It is intended to give startups a chance to develop PoCs inside Fiumicino airport and to fully roll out their systems.
Plug and Play recognizes ADR
Aeroporti di Roma, a Mundys Group company, manages and develops Rome Fiumicino and Ciampino airports. It claimed that Fiumicino is the first and only airport in Italy with a Skytrax rating of five stars for service quality, with two passenger terminals. Ciampino is mainly used by low-cost airlines, express couriers, and general aviation activities.
In the past five years, ADR has received numerous awards, recognitions, and quality certificates. In 2022 and 2023, Plug and Play's Tech Center, the largest private investment fund in Silicon Valley, awarded ADR the “Corporate Innovation Award” for its commitment to promoting open innovation initiatives and building an innovative “airport of the future.”
Ottonomy joined the ADR innovation team during Plug and Play's Travel & Hospitality & Smart Cities EXPO in Vienna. They said they discussed how innovation and cutting-edge technologies such as mobile robots are redefining the passenger experience, as well as the recent launch of ADR Ventures.
The ADR Ventures team and Ottobot in Italy. Source: Ottonomy
ADR Ventures launched
Aeroporti di Roma said it launched ADR Ventures to support the growth of the start-ups operating inside its Innovation Hub. It said it is the first initiative of its kind in the Italian air-transport sector financing projects in synergy with the airport's operational and strategic needs.
ADR Ventures is intended to help develop youth entrepreneurship, invest in startups that integrate with the business, and support the commercialization of innovations. It said it looks for high-potential startups in the aviation, travel, and hospitality industries.
Not only does ADR Ventures plan to offer further support to startups in economic terms, but it said it also offers know-how and skills to foster the development and growth of new companies and entrepreneurs for the digital transformation of the industry.
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