Schiphol Airport Starts Trials of Autonomous Baggage Tractor

Schiphol Airport Starts Trials of Autonomous Baggage Tractor

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has started a trial of an autonomous baggage tractor that will take baggage to the aircraft on the apron. The trial forms part of a new programme launched by Royal Schiphol Group, called Autonomous Airside Operations, in support of its vision to operate “the most sustainable airports in the world” by 2050.

The aim of the trial is to discover whether the technology is safe and efficient and how self-driving vehicles can be integrated with other traffic at the airport.

The trial will initially start in a defined area in which the baggage process is simulated. In the second phase, the trial will be continued in an operational environment to bring baggage to the aircraft. The self-driving vehicle will be loaded in the baggage area, after which it will navigate to an aircraft stand via a fixed route. During the trials with the baggage tractor, there will be a safety operator in the autonomous vehicle to stop the vehicle if necessary.

Rotterdam The Hague and Eindhoven airports will also be testing autonomous baggage tractors this spring, in partnership with Vanderlande.

Royal Schiphol Group has shared its vision that by 2050, the daily operations on the apron at the airports will have changed significantly. According to the airport operator, the ground-based airport activities, such as baggage transport, passenger transport and aircraft towing, will be smart and autonomous. The aim is ultimately to replace all airside vehicles with an interconnected fleet of self-driving, emission-free vehicles, in order to guarantee and improve quality in the long-term.