Grand Rapids, MI

Gerald R. Ford International Airport

View Project

Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Visit site

As part of the Ford Launchpad for Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship (FLITE) program, Sunflower Labs launched its first airport-based Beehive System installation at the Grand Rapids International Airport. The program is a partnership between Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and Southwest Airlines.

FLITE provides funding and a live testing environment for emerging companies that improve airport safety and security, optimize workforce and infrastructure resources, provide timely and accurate data, and improve the airport guest experience.




Multiple sites



Sunflower Beehive System at GRR
Setting up the system at GRR
Ready for launch

Out of 20 applicants, Sunflower Labs was selected to join the first cohort of FLITE awardees, along with Aurrigo and WHILL. Sunflower team ran two successful demos in the airport maintenance and observation areas despite windy weather conditions. Members of the GRR Airport Innovation Lab Advisory Committee, who represent other airports including San Antonio International Airport and Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport, were also in attendance. Seamless, a Grand Rapids-based I.T. consultant, provided proof of concept coordination.

Sunflower Labs is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate at Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The Airport Operations team owns and operates the Beehive System to provide security and surveillance over large areas at the airport. The system is geofenced by distance and altitude to maintain a safe buffer from active flights.

Along with train maintenance depots and storage facilities, the Beehive System is proven to operate safely and reliably in busy airport environments. While airports excel at managing complex flight schedules, large outdoor spaces are difficult to secure with fixed cameras and foot patrols. This makes airports an ideal use case for Sunflower Labs’s autonomous security solutions.

Bee flying above GRR Operations vehicle
Bee flying above Southwest flight
Geofenced site at GRR
Hive at GRR