Since August 2021, Groupe ADP and Air France KLM Martinair Cargo have been testing an airside cargo transport solution, with an autonomous electric vehicle from French startup OROK at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport.
The goal of this experiment is to optimise, secure and decarbonise ground operations, on airside and service lanes around the aircraft, for the benefit of all players in the airport value chain.
Winner of the 2020 “Play your Airport” innovation challenge dedicated to the cargo activities – organised by Groupe ADP – OROK has developed an innovative solution with autonomous electric vehicles for transportation of goods and air freight.
Equipped with a state-of-the-art GPS system and numerous sensors enabling it to access loading and unloading areas close to the aircraft, these autonomous vehicles are supervised by a server with artificial intelligence. Able to convey between 30 and 40 suitcases, luggage container or pallets loaded with goods, these new vehicles are intended to replace tractors and trailers usually used between cargo warehouses or baggage sorting centres and aircraft parking stands.
This solution is being carried out in surrounding Air France Cargo’s “G1XL” cargo warehouse. The test consist, initially, in transporting empty aircraft containers between two areas inside the warehouse using a first “demokart” prototype vehicle.
The tests will then gradually evolve using a new generation of more efficient vehicles. These autonomous electric vehicles offer several benefits: decrease of accidents on the runway, faster delivery for goods or luggage, reduction of surface requirements for manoeuvring and more.
Edward Arkwright, deputy CEO of Groupe ADP, commented: “Thanks to this experiment with OROK’s autonomous vehicle, we are testing innovative tools alongside Air France to improve the performance and safety of air freight activities, for which Paris Charles de Gaulle is one of the leading airports. This autonomous technology is promising to help us transform our processes, while contributing to the environmental transition of our ground operations.”