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Major Innovations in Elevator & Escalators

Infrastructure | May, 2023

As urbanization continues to grow at a rapid pace around the globe, the demand for vertical transportation has been proliferating in skyscrapers and high-rise buildings. The past few years have seen a steady evolution in elevator and escalator technologies with the integration of innovative AI technology and cloud services. Some of the recent advancements and innovations in the vertical transportation sector includes the introduction of smart elevators, rope-less elevator-MULTI, AI, and Internet of Things, extended reality technology, among others. These advancements in technology have made vertical transportation smarter and more accessible. Besides, digitalization has opened new horizons for elevator and escalator manufacturers, prompting them to rethink their offerings and introduce faster, safer, and more entertaining—next gen elevator tech.  

Smart Elevators: The Next Big Trend

The ever-evolving technological landscape has led to consumers demanding newer and innovative features from lift systems. Modern lifts require to be space-saving, energy-efficient, sustainable, time-efficient, low-maintenance, cost-friendly, safe, and durable. Smart elevators have provided a new wave of advancement in vertical transportation, allowing better monitoring performance, enabling real-time maintenance decisions, etc. remotely. Smart elevators are outfitted with cutting-edge technology and connectivity features that enhance their effectiveness, security, and general performance. These elevators are proving to be more efficient than the traditional ones since they are less time-consuming and more cost-effective. Overall, smart elevators provide several benefits over traditional elevators, including improved efficiency, safety, and maintenance. They are particularly useful in high-rise buildings where elevator traffic can be heavy and waiting times can be long. Here are some of the smart elevator trends for 2023.

Interactive Panels within Elevator Cabs

Interactive panels within elevator cabs include touch screens, displays, and other interactive technologies that enhance the experience of passengers in the elevator. These panels can be used for a variety of purposes, such as providing information, entertainment, or even improving safety. Information displays can be used to display information about the building, such as floor plans, directions, and upcoming events. They can also provide information about the elevator itself, such as its current location, speed, and capacity. Some interactive panels are equipped with entertainment systems, such as music or video players, to provide a more enjoyable experience for passengers during their commute. Interactive panels can also be used for advertising purposes, displaying advertisements for products or services that may be of interest to passengers. Interactive panels can be used to provide safety features such as emergency call buttons, fire alarms, or even access to building security systems. These panels can also be customized to meet the specific needs of a building or its tenants. For example, they could display a personalized welcome message for certain passengers or provide access to building-specific applications or services.


Cloud Predictive Maintenance

Cloud predictive maintenance involves the use of cloud-based technologies and data analysis to monitor and predict maintenance needs in elevators. This technology help to identify potential issues before they become major problems, reduce downtime, and increase the lifespan of the elevator system. ThyssenKrupp, a leading elevator manufacturer, has developed a predictive maintenance system called MAX that uses cloud-based analytics to monitor elevator performance and predict maintenance needs. Otis Elevator has also developed a cloud-based predictive maintenance system called Otis ONE, which uses data from sensors, as well as historical data on elevator performance, to identify trends and predict when maintenance will be required. KONE, another leading elevator manufacturer, has developed a predictive maintenance system called KONE 24/7 Connected Services that uses cloud-based analytics for forecasting maintenance needs.


Cable-free Elevators

Cable-free lifts, also known as ropeless elevators are becoming increasingly popular due to their flexibility in building design and potential for reduced energy consumption. The magnetic levitation technology could revolutionize how elevators move in buildings without cables. Germany’s ThyssenKrupp unveiled the first Multi elevator system that uses super-fast magnetically propelled trains leveraging magnetic levitation technology to move through a vertical shaft. The elevator cars are propelled by linear motors that are installed in the shaft walls. This technology allows for multiple elevator cars to move in a single shaft, increasing capacity and reducing wait times. Elevators can go faster—up to 18 metres per second, or almost twice as fast as conventional lifts—take up less room inside buildings and move horizontally because there are no cables involved. Additionally, since there are no cables, more than one lift cabin can be in the same shaft. Moreover, the Multi system reduces the weight of the cabin by up to 50% and facilitate the motion of smaller shafts more efficiently. Thus, the system could increase the usable area of the building by up to 25% while opening new design and architectural possibilities.

Other elevator manufacturers such as MagneMotion, Mitsubishi Electric, KONE, etc. are venturing into the cable-free lifts and introducing their unique offerings. The Airborne elevator system by MagneMotion uses linear induction motors to propel elevator cars through a shaft. This technology eliminates the need for cables and reduces the energy required to move the elevator cars. The elevator cars are suspended from the ceiling of the shaft, which allows for greater flexibility in building design. ACCEL elevator by Mitsubishi Electric uses a linear motor system to move elevator cars through a shaft. The linear motor produces a magnetic field that propels the lift vehicles, which are suspended from the ceiling by a steel rope. The system’s rapid acceleration and deceleration capabilities reduce wait times and increase efficiency. MULTI Vertical Transport System by KONE uses an ultralight rope and carbon fiber hoisting technology to move elevator cars through a shaft. This technology allows for greater flexibility in building design and reduces the energy required to move the elevator cars.

According to TechSci Research report on “Smart Elevator Market –Global Industry Size, Share, Trends, Competition, Opportunity, and Forecast, 2018-2028, Segmented By Component (Control Systems, Maintenance Systems, Communication Systems), Installation (Low and Mid-rise, High Rise), Application (Residential, Commercial, Institutional), Service (New Installation Services, Modernization Services and Maintenance Services), By Region”, the global smart elevator market is anticipated to register a significant growth during the forecast period. The market growth can be attributed to the expanding infrastructure in developing nations and rise of smart cities.

Robotization in Elevators and Escalators

Robotization in elevators and escalators includes the use of advanced technologies such as robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence to enhance the functionality, efficiency, and safety of these vertical transportation systems. Here are a few other examples of robotization
in elevators and escalators:

Destination Control Systems

Every modern hotel or commercial building have a lift that knows exactly where you are heading and even point to a certain elevator for your journey. This has been made possible with Destination Control Systems, which uses artificial intelligence to regulate the flow of passengers in elevators. The hugely popular innovation, destination control has disrupted the elevator industry like never before. Destination control lifts use algorithms to group passengers according to their destination floors, increase the speed and efficiency by organizing stops for passengers heading to the same or close floors in a building, which reduces the number of stops and travel time. This technology is being widely used in high-rise buildings since it reduces waiting times and improve the overall experience for passengers.

Contactless Elevator Buttons

The need to improve hygiene in lifts, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, led to the emergence of contactless elevator buttons. These contactless elevator buttons leverage infrared sensor interface, which allow users to call a lift by holding finger from one to three centimetres away from the button panel. Since passengers do not really touch the buttons, the risk of spreading germs, bacteria, and diseases reduces significantly. As AI continues to become more integrated into the hospitality industry, contactless elevators are expected to be more mainstream in the coming years.

The HoverTapTMLift makes use of a novel sensor technology that enables three-dimensional real-time finger position detection. The LCD screen provides the user with immediate response as it is sensitive to the finger's closeness to the interface and registers a floor selection with a mild "press" in the air. There are safeguards in place to stop buttons from being accidentally pressed. Machine-learning algorithms guarantee improved precision and responsiveness, creating a user experience that feels natural and similar to pressing a real button. The average user was considered when creating these features. The HoverTapTM touchless technology may convert any existing systems with typical high-touch surfaces, such as self-service kiosks, ticketing booths, fuel pump stations, and ATMs, into contact-free interfaces.

Automated Maintenance

Sensors employed in escalators can detect problems in the system and automatically notify the maintenance staff, which help prevent any malfunctions or delays in the future. Moreover, predictive maintenance leveraging sensor technology prevents downtime and ensures that the optimal functioning of systems at all times. Since 2018, Schindler has fitted all its lifts with a connected box known as the Ahead Cube, which relays all information pertaining to the lift and allows for the anticipation of malfunctions. The customer now gets a personal online location where they can fully monitor their equipment in real time. They can also get real-time updates for technical events such as intervention and maintenance visits. Additionally, they can use an application to request an intervention and access a fleet performance summary.

  • Sanitation and cleaning


To keep lifts and escalators clean and hygienic, robotic cleaning equipment is being employed more and more. These robots make sure that the environment is clean and safe for the passengers by using ultraviolet light and disinfectant sprays to get rid of bacteria and viruses.


  • Intelligent Dispatching


Some lift systems now come with intelligent dispatching technology, which makes use of real-time data to optimise lift mobility within a building. In order to better serve passengers' requirements and shorten wait times, the technology allows the lift speed and direction to be automatically adjusted.

In 2022, global lift manufacturer Schindler introduced the world's first self-climbing robotic system to perform lift installation operations on towering structures. Before climbing to position, R.I.S.E (Robotic Installation System for Elevators) is suspended in the lift shaft. Prior to drilling the holes for the anchor bolts for the landing doors, divider beams, and wall brackets, the machine autonomously scans the work area, scans the shaft walls to locate rebar, and then scans the shaft walls again to locate the rebar. The R.I.S.E. operator may monitor the status of the job via a tablet that displays information like the robot's position and the percentage of applications that have been finished, as well as remote viewing capabilities using an on-board camera.

Improvisations in Glass Elevators

Architects and engineers prefer glass elevators over conventional dark elevators as they increase the aesthetics of the building and provide a classically elegant appearance, blending with all types of décors. Advancements in both form and functionality are leading to an increased adoption of glass elevators in both residential and commercial buildings. Technologies such as fingerprint scanners, biometric security tools, or keypad entry are being utilized in glass lifts to further enhance security. Besides, modern glass elevators come with enhanced safety features such as emergency braking systems, fire-resistant glass, and advanced sensors to detect obstacles.


Nowadays, a lot of glass lifts feature smart technology that enables users to operate the lift with their smartphones or other devices. The performance of the lift can be monitored using this technology, which can also be used to spot possible problems before they become serious ones. Glass lifts now have features like regenerative braking, which uses the kinetic energy created by the lift's movement to fuel the lift's motor, in response to the increased emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency. Manufacturers are increasingly providing more customization options, such as coloured glass and lighting options that may be customised to match the style of the building, to keep up with this demand. With advances in elevator technology, glass elevators can now travel at higher speeds and carry more passengers than ever before, which is particularly important in high-traffic areas where efficiency and capacity are crucial.


As a part of a new development named Summit One Vanderbilt, a see-through lift that goes 1200 ft above the new city has been built on one of the NYC’s tallest skyscrapers, One Vanderbilt tower. This is located on the outside of the new midtown building and connected directly to the Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal.


According to TechSci Research report on “Vietnam Elevators & Escalators Market By Type (Elevator, Escalator and Moving Walkways), By Service (Modernization, Maintenance & Repair and New Installation), By Elevator Technology (Traction, Hydraulic, and Machine Room-Less Traction), By Elevator Door Type (Automatic and Manual), By End User (Residential, Commercial, Institutional, Infrastructural and Others), By Region, Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, 2017- 2027”, Vietnam Elevators & Escalators market is expected to grow at a significant pace, owing to the rising number of smart cities and high investment by key players for technological development of elevators and escalators in the region.


Rise of Elevators in the World of Sustainability

In tall buildings around the world, more than seven billion lift trips are made every day. Considering that half the world’s population live in cities, the number expected to jump to 70 percent by the year 2050. Hence, efficient vertical transportation is becoming a pressing challenge. Therefore, developers are designing greener vertical transport that provide safe and sustainable way to transfer people from the ground up into the sky—in addition to building higher structures to keep up with the inflow of urban populations. Newer lifts already contain environmentally friendly elements like LED lights, water soluble paint, and recycled construction components. However, many businesses have started to discover a vast array of alternatives to the conventional rope-and-pulley systems.


Modern lifts have caught on to the trend of energy conservation, which is still quite popular in the building and real estate industries, which has led to the emergence of green elevators. The building materials, control panels, flooring, interior colors, and HVAC systems are all taken into consideration when designing green elevators, in addition to the reduced energy usage.

Here are some of the components of green lifts.