Manufacturer kicks off its American dream with product programme

Aurrigo International has started its programme with one of the world’s largest airline groups to deploy its autonomous baggage tractor. 

The Auto-DollyTug® will be used at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) through its partnership with International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of brands such as British Airways, Aer Lingus and Vueling.

The Coventry-headquartered group’s Auto-DollyTug® is an all-electric, autonomous vehicle that combines the functions of a baggage tractor and the carrying capacity of an airport dolly. 

It can transport 30% more than a traditional towing trailer and can autonomously load and unload.

With a fleet of 558 aircraft, operating 256 destinations and carrying around 94 million passengers each year, IAG is working with Aurrigo to look at rolling out its products within the UK.

Stakeholders gathered at CVG, which marked the project kick-off for an initial deployment of Auto-DollyTug® scheduled for spring 2024.

The deployment at CVG adds to other contract wins for Aurrigo, including its partnership with UPS to introduce Auto-Cargo, an autonomous electric vehicle designed for transporting heavy cargo between aircraft and the UPS hub at East Midlands Airport, the UK’s second-largest cargo terminal.

Aurrigo CEO, Professor David Keene said: “This relationship is an important milestone for us as it will be our first aviation operation in the USA – a key target market. Next year we will have our autonomous vehicles operating at airports in the UK, Europe, Asia and now the US, showing the clear demand there is in the aviation sector for our technology.”

“We’re pleased to be partnering with IAG, the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL, beyond the UK and to be building a presence at a key international airport. We are demonstrating vehicles that are designed from the ground up to be electric and autonomous to provide substantial efficiency improvements in future ground handling

Candace McGraw, chief executive officer at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, said: “As one of the fastest-growing passenger and cargo hubs in the US and globally, CVG is always looking for innovative technologies to improve capacity and efficiency. We look forward to working with Aurrigo and IAG to identify potential solutions to address many of the issues that aviation currently faces, such as staffing shortages, safety, capacity and environmental concerns, among others.”

Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio said: “As the birthplace of aviation, Ohioans are quick to welcome new technologies that improve air travel. The world is better connected to Greater Cincinnati than ever before, and Aurrigo’s decision to test their first autonomous baggage dollies in the United States at CVG will advance the airport’s efficiencies and strengthen the region’s economic competitiveness.”