Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) in Kentucky has contracted transportation technology company Aurrigo and International Airlines Group (IAG) to deploy and demonstrate an autonomous baggage tractor, named the Auto-DollyTug.
Auto-DollyTug is an all-electric, autonomous vehicle that has been designed to combine the utility of a baggage tractor with the unit load device (ULD) carrying capability of an airport dolly, creating a more flexible and space-efficient vehicle. An Auto-DollyTug towing three trailers carries four ULDs, which is 30% more than a traditional tug setup of the same overall length. Auto-DollyTug has robotic arms on the body, enabling the vehicle to autonomously load and unload a ULD for an end-to-end autonomous operation.
The Auto-DollyTug deployment is scheduled for the spring of 2024 and Aurrigo expects that this will lead to the addition of more vehicles throughout 2025.
“This partnership is an important milestone for us as it will be our first aviation operation in the USA – a key target market,” said Professor David Keene, CEO of Aurrigo. “This year we will have our autonomous vehicles operating at airports in the UK, Europe, Asia and now the US, showing the clear demand there is in the aviation sector for our technology. We’re pleased to be partnering with IAG beyond the UK and to be building a presence at a key international airport. We are demonstrating vehicles that are designed from the ground up to be electric and autonomous to provide substantial efficiency improvements in future ground handling operations.”
Candace McGraw, CEO of CVG, added, “As one of the fastest-growing passenger and cargo hubs in the USA and globally, CVG is always looking for innovative technologies to improve capacity and efficiency. We look forward to working with Aurrigo and IAG to identify potential solutions to help address many of the issues that aviation currently faces: staffing shortages, safety, capacity and environmental concerns, among others.”
“As the birthplace of aviation, Ohioans are quick to welcome new technologies that improve air travel,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “The world is better connected to Greater Cincinnati than ever before, and Aurrigo’s decision to test their first autonomous baggage dollies in the USA at CVG will advance the airport’s efficiencies and strengthen the region’s economic competitiveness.”
“Aurrigo’s decision to bring its autonomous baggage vehicles to the USA for the first time demonstrates the valuable partnerships developed since British Airways launched round-trip service from Cincinnati to London last year,” said J P Nauseef, president and CEO of JobsOhio. “This new route, assisted through the JobsOhio Air Service Restoration Program and REDI Cincinnati, is attracting Aurrigo’s innovative products and services that will enhance CVG passengers’ travel experience.”
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