Auckland ACE robot delivers the goods for duty free click and collect

2nd March 2016

Portland Design has redeveloped the Aelia Duty Free store operated by Lagardère Travel Retail at Auckland Airport, replacing store assistants with a large robotic arm.

The 4m high robotic arm is placed at the centre of the store, surrounded on three sides by boxes. The arm is known as ACE (Automated Collection Experience).

Travellers who have pre-paid for goods online simply scan their order slip to have the arm retrieve the merchandise from the appropriate box and deliver it to them. The process takes 30 seconds, with the arm able to carry weights of up to 150kg. The arm itself weighs 11 tonnes and requires a reinforced floor.

“The ACE robot shows our ongoing commitment to making journeys better and providing a world-class duty free experience at Auckland Airport,” says the airport’s general manager Richard Barker. “Not only does the ACE robot look impressive, it also reduces the time arriving passengers have to wait at the duty free collection point.”

Portland Design director of environments Lewis Allen adds: “ACE was introduced to meet present day shopper expectations and commercial imperatives. Consumers expect seamless and efficient technology-enabled experiences wherever they are. Airports are also increasingly aware that arrivals duty free shopping could be enhanced. More generally in retail there is a recognition that the click and collect experience, which is growing in importance, deserves more thought. Robot assisted shopping introduces that all-important wow factor, whilst pointing the way to a more automated but simultaneously personalised future in retail.”