British Airways has announced that it is teaming up with autonomous vehicle specialist Aurrigo to trial driverless baggage vehicles at Heathrow Airport.
The emissions-free vehicles will be used to help the airline further improve punctuality for its flights. They will also help the airline and airport reduce emissions associated with transporting around 75,000 British Airways bags per day back and forth between baggage halls and aircraft.
Carrying up to 40 bags in one journey, the driverless vehicles use the latest navigating technology to memorize the airfield to determine the shortest route to transport luggage. Unlike the current vehicles, the new vehicles will depart for the aircraft as soon as each one is full, speeding up the aircraft loading process.
British Airways’ director of airports, Raghbir Pattar, said, “We are always looking at ways to improve efficiency and modernize our operation to ensure that we are delivering bags to and from our aircraft on time and without delay.”
Chris Garton, chief operating officer, Heathrow Airport, added, “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 to provide the infrastructure necessary to be at the forefront of this technology.”
If successful, the new vehicles could transport customers’ baggage to and from the aircraft by 2021.