Aberdeen Standard Investment’s AIPUT (Airport Industrial and Property Unit Trust) Fund has published a report that describes how autonomous transport and logistics technologies at airports have made great strides.
This technology is used at all airports in the UK, including London Heathrow; AIPUT owns 2 million sqft of buildings at Heathrow and supports logistics and freight at the airport.
The report examines how freight transport, logistics, and passenger transport from and to airports can be made more efficient in automated transport.
Nick Smith, director of the AIPUT Foundation said, “Autonomous technology promises great benefits for airports and service companies that support them, transforming operations at airports, increasing the efficiency and safety of airport users and passengers.
“In Gatwick, for example, 90% of the air-side vehicles that are at the airport are stationary at the same time, which is extremely inefficient and occupies a huge space, and a significantly smaller number of autonomous electric vehicles will notably reduce costs, reduce emissions and improve safety as well.”
“In Düsseldorf, the new automated parking system showed the reduction of 60% parking requirement in contrast to human drivers.”
Adoption of autonomous technology has already started at different airports. The first test of an automatic air-side vehicle was performed out at Heathrow in collaboration with Oxbotica and IAG Cargo.
Gatwick was the first airport in the world to experience the use of autonomous vehicles to transport personnel at the airfields, demonstrating that autonomous vehicles can operate safely in very difficult aerodrome conditions.
The Norwegian winter tested autonomous vehicles in such a way that only Norway could do so; at the Fagernes airport, an autonomous snowplow was tested with a single machine that could clear an area of 68 hectares per hour. Autonomous technology improves the accuracy of plowing, increases safety during snow removal, and eases driving in the case of snow formation and low visibility.
The British Government announced an investment of £22.4 Million to develop off-road autonomous vehicles, which should improve performance in various sectors, including airports.