Avinor is to test two autonomous snowplows at Oslo Airport in Norway this winter. The project is one of the first globally where large machinery will operate autonomously to keep snow away from airport areas.
Testing will take place under normal winter operations, starting in early 2019 and lasting until April. The goal is to reach at least 40 completed operations using the same basic technology as that was tested at Fagernes Airport earlier in the year. During the trial, the vehicles will be closely monitored and will have a driver present that can intervene if necessary.
Margrethe Snekkerbakken, executive vice president for safety, environment and strategy at Avinor, said, “Innovation is important to Avinor. In the future, many tasks in aviation will be resolved in other ways than today. Avinor wants to test autonomy, and does of course see a potential for rationalization in the future through new solutions for winter operations and in other areas.”
The autonomous vehicles will be tested both in ploughing convoys and as independent snow ploughs so that Avinor may transfer experiences to airports without ploughing convoys.
Henning Bråtebæk, director of airside operations at Oslo Airport, added, “Last winter we saw more than 3m (10ft) of snow and prepared the runway systems a total of 814 times, so conditions should be well suited for testing here at Oslo Airport.”