IAG Cargo has undertaken the first airside trial of a self-driving vehicle at a UK airport to understand how they could be used in an airside environment.
The CargoPod vehicle was designed by Oxbotica – an Oxford based company specialising in self-driving software, and it spent three and a half weeks running autonomously along a cargo route around the airside perimeter.
The trial collected over 200 kilometres of data that will enable IAG and Heathrow Airport to assess potential opportunities for the use of autonomous vehicles in airport environments in the future.
IAG Cargo chief executive officer (CEO), Lynne Embleton says: “Technology is evolving at an incredible pace. We are working with fantastic businesses like Oxbotica to develop new capabilities that will change the way airports function around the world.
“The trial has yielded valuable insights and is another step in our ongoing commitment to embrace new technologies, improve processes and enhance our offering to our customers.”
Oxbotica CEO, Dr Graeme Smith says: “While there were a huge number of variables to consider including transitioning from indoors to outdoors during each journey, our vision-based localisation system performed exceptionally.
“For us, the trial marks the first step in an ongoing relationship with Heathrow Airport and IAG Cargo.”
Heathrow Airport head of cargo, Nick Platts adds: “We’re delighted to have hosted this UK-first trial which will make our cargo facilities faster and more efficient for our customers. We look forward to this technology being adopted across the airport.”