Aurrigo International plc has started its programme with International Airlines Group (IAG) at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) for the deployment and demonstration of its autonomous baggage tractor, Auto-DollyTug®.
To mark the start of the partnership, the parties gathered at CVG, a leading airport in autonomous technology.
(l-r) Nick Ridler (Aurrigo), Hannah Meredith, Naashom Marx (both CVG), Greg Paton (IAG), Dave Keene (Aurrigo), Candace McGraw, Brian Cobb (both CVG), Dana Borschewski and Lewis Girdwood (Aurrigo)
“This relationship is an important milestone for us as it will be our first aviation operation in the USA – a key target market. 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,” said Aurrigo CEO, Professor David Keene.
“We’re pleased to be partnering with IAG, the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL, 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.”
The meeting today marks the project kick-off for an initial deployment of one Auto-DollyTug® scheduled for spring of 2024.
This ground-breaking technology brings collaboration across the public and private sector, from the airport, airline and ground handlers integrating the solution to the region that it will benefit.
Candace McGraw, Chief Executive Officer at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, went on to add: “As one of the fastest-growing passenger and cargo hubs in the US 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 address many of the issues that aviation currently faces, such as staffing shortages, safety, capacity and environmental concerns, among others.”
Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio added his support: “As the birthplace of aviation, Ohioans are quick to welcome new technologies that improve air travel.
“The world is better connected to Greater Cincinnati than ever before, and Aurrigo’s decision to test their first autonomous baggage dollies in the United States at CVG will advance the airport’s efficiencies and strengthen the region’s economic competitiveness.”
On successful completion of the demonstration through 2024, Aurrigo expects that this will lead to the expansion of additional vehicles in 2025.
Auto-DollyTug® is an all-electric, autonomous vehicle that combines the utility of a baggage tractor, with the ULD (Unit Load device) carrying capability of an airport dolly all in one, making a more flexible and space efficient vehicle.
This means that a combination of an Auto-DollyTug® towing three trailers carries four ULDs, which is 30% more than a traditional tug set-up of the same overall length.
Aurrigo’s technology also incorporates robotic arms on the body, allowing the vehicle to autonomously load and unload a ULD itself, for a truly end-to-end autonomous operation.
J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio President and CEO, concluded: “Aurrigo’s decision to bring its autonomous baggage vehicles to the United States for the first time demonstrates the valuable partnerships developed since British Airways launched its round-trip service from Cincinnati to London last year.
“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.”
For more information www.aurrigo.com