Saturday, July 20, 2024
Changi Airport Group collaborates with Aurrigo to trial new autonomous baggage handling vehicle

Changi Airport Group collaborates with Aurrigo to trial new autonomous baggage handling vehicle

Changi Airport Group (CAG) and Aurrigo International plc (Aurrigo) are collaborating to test the latest version of its electric-powered autonomous vehicle, Auto-DollyTug®, at Changi Airport.

Auto-DollyTug®, which has new ground handling capabilities and is more maneuverable, will be put through different scenarios to assess its efficiency and speed when it comes to aircraft turnaround times.

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Combining the utility of a baggage tractor and the unit load device (ULD) carrying capability of an airport dolly, the latest Auto-DollyTug® can rotate in its own length and, using the groundbreaking sideways drive system, move directly sideways and slide into tight spaces, enabling the swift delivery of a single ULD even when other GSE equipment is in place at the aircraft.

In an industry first, the new Auto-DollyTug® also features Aurrigo’s auto-loading and release management system that adds bi-directional robotic arms to the body to allow the vehicle to autonomously load and unload the ULD from itself.

Professor David Keene, Chief Executive Officer at Aurrigo, explained: “Auto-DollyTug® is the result of clean sheet of paper thinking, as we didn’t just want a modified conventional tractor that could tow some dollies to an area near the aircraft without a driver. Our technology can not only carry a ULD on its body, which maximises carrying capacity without increasing the length of the train, it can also autonomously transfer that ULD directly on to a JCPL or High Loader.”

He continued: “This level of capability has been made possible by designing a vehicle to be electric and autonomous from day one. We have never built a diesel-powered airport vehicle so we don’t have to work around the compromises of a legacy GSE vehicle product. This 3rd generation of the Auto-DollyTug® has been designed to incorporate the experience we have gained from the extensive airside testing already carried out with our 2nd generation vehicle at Changi Airport.”

The earlier versions of Auto-DollyTug® have been on trial at Singapore Changi Airport since February 2022 (Annex 1). This testing phase gave Aurrigo the opportunity to deploy its vehicles in a live airside environment and to push the limits of its technology in a hot and humid climate, where extreme rain events are a frequent feature of airside operations.

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Ms Poh Li San, Senior Vice President, Terminal 5 Specialised Systems at Changi Airport Group, added her support: “Changi Airport is exploring the use of different vehicles across the airport, especially to automate airside operations.”

“The latest Auto-DollyTug® has made its airside debut at our airport and we look forward to studying how it handles the challenges of a dynamic airport environment.”

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James Graham

James Graham is an award-winning transport media journalist with a long background in the commercial freight sector, including commercial aviation and the aviation supply chain. He was the initial Air Cargo Week journalist and retuned later for a stint as editor. He continues his association as editor of the monthly supplements. He has reported for the newspaper from global locations as well as the UK.

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