SINGAPORE: An exciting innovation was launched at Changi Airport, Aurrigo’s Auto-DollyTug®, an all-electric and autonomous baggage and cargo tractor that its company says is set to transform the aviation industry.

The vehicle, seen in the video below, features such firsts as bi-directional robotic arms that autonomously load/unload a ULD, to a 360-degree tank turn capability, a sideways drive system, and an onboard payload capacity of a single ULD (while towing up to 3 standard dollies) while increasing efficiency and safety.

The vehicle, which has greater manoeuvrability and new ground handling capabilities, will undergo a number of different scenarios so its speed and efficiency can be assessed in the context of aid aircraft turnaround times.

Changi Airport announced in February 2023 that as part of its efforts to address manpower issues, especially for roles in the airside that impact operations and passenger experience, Changi Airport Group (CAG) had invested resources to trial autonomy solutions in Terminal 5.

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The trial to automate driving baggage tractors began in Feb 2022 and was partially financed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) through its Aviation Development Fund (ADF). The fund supports endeavours to promote productivity in the aviation sector through innovative solutions.

Together with a leader in the international provider of airport transport technology, Aurrigo, the Terminal 5 Specialised Systems began testing the Auto-Dolly, an autonomous individual baggage trailer, and the Auto-DollyTug.

Professor David Keene, Chief Executive Officer at Aurrigo, explained that the “Auto-DollyTug® is the result of a clean sheet of paper thinking, as we didn’t just want a modified conventional tractor that could tow some dollies to an area near the aircraft without a driver.

Our technology can not only carry a ULD on its body, which maximizes carrying capacity without increasing the length of the train, it can also autonomously transfer that ULD directly onto a JCPL or High Loader.

This 3rd generation of the Auto-DollyTug® has been designed to incorporate the experience we have gained from the extensive airside testing already carried out with our 2nd generation vehicle at Changi Airport.”

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As for Ms Poh Li San, Senior Vice President of Terminal 5 Specialized Systems at Changi Airport Group, who also happens to be MP for Sembawang GRC, she said:

“Changi Airport is exploring the use of different vehicles across the airport, especially to automate airside operations. The latest Auto-DollyTug® has made its airside debut at our airport and we look forward to studying how it handles the challenges of a dynamic airport environment.” /TISG