A world first in autonomous technology has helped a Coventry manufacturer claim a prestigious prize at the Heathrow Clean Vehicles Partnership Awards.
Working in partnership with International Airlines Group (IAG) and British Airways, Aurrigo’s autonomous luggage dolly was awarded the ‘Innovator’ title for the way it could potentially reduce emissions and improve efficiencies in getting passenger bags to and from the terminal.
Judges were impressed with the initial results of the first two phases of the trial currently taking place at Terminal 5 and the way it can reduce passenger waiting times, as well as offering a host of environmental improvements.
Carrying up to 40 bags in one journey, the driverless dollies use the latest navigating technology to memorise the airfield and determine the shortest route to transport luggage.
Unlike the current vehicles, they will depart for the aircraft as soon as each one is full, speeding up the aircraft loading process.
Miles Garner, Sales and Marketing Director at Aurrigo, said: “We are best known for the work we are doing in pioneering driverless pods that are typically used to deliver first and last mile transport solutions.
“It was quickly recognised that this technology could be applied to other sectors and we were delighted when we started working with IAG and British Airways on exploring the possibility of autonomous luggage dollies.”
He continued: “The impressive initial results have been reinforced by the project being awarded the ‘Innovator’ title at the Heathrow CVP Awards, beating off competition from some very impressive innovations in the process.
“Airports have the requirement to move vast numbers of people, goods, luggage and a variety of other materials around a huge site and autonomous technology can provide the aviation industry with a solution that has zero emissions and massively increased efficiencies.
Chris Garton, Chief Operating Officer at Heathrow Airport, said: “We’re delighted to trial new technologies that will make our airport more efficient, safe and sustainable. Significant progress is being made with driverless vehicles and these trials will help us provide the infrastructure necessary to be at the forefront of this technology.”
If successful, the dollies could transport customers’ baggage to and from the aircraft by 2021.