Air France, tests the world’s first autonomous tractor for transporting baggage between the baggage sorting area and aircraft.
The testing in real conditions of this baggage tractor brings us one step closer to creating the smart airport of the future.
With the roll-out of smart, autonomous vehicles, air transport players aim to improve baggage flow performance and ramp safety at airport hubs. By automating traffic flows, operators can focus on decision-making and management actions, which saves time and efficiency when handling aircraft.
THE TASKS OF THE AUTONOMOUS TRACTOR
Once the passengers’ baggage has reached the baggage sorting area, the autonomous baggage tractor intervenes in the following way –
– An agent from Groupe 3S, an Air France subcontractor, places the baggage in containers connected to the autonomous tractor.
– The baggage tractor is a smart vehicle that moves autonomously around the airport to reach the Air France aircraft. Its destination is pre-programmed via a touchscreen by an agent from the Groupe 3S.
– As it nears the aircraft, the tractor stops and the agent takes control of the vehicle and subsequently loads the baggage in the aircraft hold.
– The vehicle returns to the baggage sorting area taking the same route in the reverse direction.
A SMART ELECTRIC TRACTOR
To carry out its tasks and integrate ramp traffic, the vehicle is equipped with intelligent sensors that enable it to recognize its environment, position itself with great precision, detect obstacles at 360° and make decisions. Thanks to its sensors (Lidar, camera, GPS, odometer) and its autonomous steering software, the vehicle can move around the airport autonomously. The AUTONOM TRACT also communicates with the hub’s traffic signals.
The autonomous electric baggage tractor has been operational at Toulouse-Blagnac airport since 15 November and has been able to navigate the environment autonomously thanks to specific authorizations.