Paris-based international airport operator Groupe ADP is conducting a trial of autonomous electric vehicles (EV) to transport luggage in the Charles de Gaulle Airport – the largest international airport in France.
Announcing the test operation of the autonomous EV luggage haulers, the airport operator revealed that it was part of its efforts to de-carbonize on-ground airport activities. The company is slowly but steadily trying to shift its operations from fossil fuel to sustainable energy alternatives to be in line with the government’s plans to trim down carbon emissions to help protect the environment and prevent global warming.
The autonomous electric luggage haulers in question are low-slung EV transport solutions capable of carrying airliner luggage bins that can hold up to 40 suitcases at a time. The EVs (electric luggage haulers) operate autonomously with the help of GPS and an array of powerful sensors. In simple words, the electric luggage haulers are self-driving.
The terrestrial EVs are supervised with an innovative artificial intelligence-enhanced central server that compliments the natural intelligence of human monitors. The EV system introduced at the Charles de Gaulle Airport was designed and developed by an airport robotics startup called Orok, which was selected after the airport operator’s 2020 innovation contest for sustainable cargo handling applications.
According to Orok’s claims, the autonomous EV system can prove very beneficial for airport operators as it can increase efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and trim down baggage-toting operational expenditures by up to 50 per cent. Thus, it would be very cost-effective for operators.
Pierrick Boyer, cofounder and president of Orok, said new automated electric solutions would pave way for operational peace of mind and better working conditions.
Speaking on the topic, Boyer said, “We strongly believe in the complete automation of the tarmac because, thanks to this type of solution, we bring operational peace of mind and better working conditions, while reducing operational costs and expenses related to accidents. Not to mention the optimization of flows and the ecological aspect, since our solution is 100% electric.”
However, he admitted that the experimentation of autonomous EVs will not totally transform and revolutionize airport ground or luggage transport immediately.
The airport operator aims to sooner or later replace the diesel-spewing tractors with sustainable, environment-friendly luggage haulers. Happy with the test results, the operator said that autonomous electric haulers are nice, though they are slower than conventional haulers.