Autonomous electric cargo vehicle programme to commence

The Auto-Dolly at Changi Airport

Aurrigo International is set to develop an autonomous electric vehicle, designed to move heavy cargo loads in partnership with a global logistics company.

The Coventry-based transport tech firm is set to create Auto-Cargo over the next 14 months at East Midlands Airport – the UK’s second-largest cargo terminal.

If successful, it will then move to real-world driverless cargo movement operations with in-service aircraft.

The project will receive £482,020 in grant funding from Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and will be based on Aurrigo’s autonomous electric baggage tractor called Auto-DollyTug®, which combines the capabilities of a baggage tractor, with the ability to also carry a standard Unit Load Device (ULD) baggage container.

Auto-Cargo has been designed to transport a combination of different sized cargo containers such as a standard full-size cargo pallet or two half-size aviation industry standard ULDs, up to a total load of 7.5 tonnes and to tow a further fully loaded 7.5 tonne cargo trailer behind it.

This capability is set to halve the length of a conventional baggage tractor and two trailer combination which is currently the industry standard, as well as being fully electric and emissions-free. It will increase operational efficiencies for the limited numbers of security-cleared cargo operators.

David Keene, CEO of Aurrigo said: “This collaboration is an exciting opportunity for us to grow into the air freight space, where there is huge demand for automation and better operating efficiencies as well as decarbonisation.

“We will work closely with our logistics partner to engineer Auto-Cargo around the tasks it needs to perform on the ground. Testing at the busy cargo hub at East Midlands Airport will enable us to develop the best autonomous electric vehicle for air freight operators.”

In February, Aurrigo signed a formal partnership agreement with Changi Airport Group for the continued joint development and testing of the company’s autonomous vehicles.

The firm first partnered with Singapore’s Changi Airport for the next phase of development of the Auto-Dolly, Aurrigo’s baggage transportation solution for airports. This phase involved trialling the Auto-Dolly on the ground at Changi Airport.

It is continuing with this work as well as developing and testing its Auto-DollyTug and its airport simulation software platform Auto-Sim.