WFS trials automated cargo tractors

Source: WFS

Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) and airport operator Aena are trialing the use of automated ground vehicles (AGVs) to move cargo between the warehouse and apron at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona – El Prat Airport.

The first phase of the Barcelona trial involves cargo transport operations between the WFS cargo terminal and Terminal 1 using a ramp tractor equipped with AGV technology along a planned, point-to-point route of 2.3 km.

The cargo towing tractor is able to recognise its environment, position itself accurately, detect obstacles at four and 10 m, and act to allow traffic and avoid collisions.

WFS said that the proof-of-concept trial will monitor the AGV’s ability to provide smooth driving at a constant speed as well as safety, flexible routing, monitoring, and traceability of the service.

The handler said that the use of AGVs would allow 24/7 operational capability and resource optimisation.

They could also help airport service providers improve operations planning and efficient equipment pooling, leading to measurable sustainability benefits, WFS added.

WFS project management office manager Jordi Campderrós said: “AGV technology is already well-established in other industries. One of our partners, MOVVO, already has different autonomous fleets running, mostly in the automotive industry in Barcelona.

“Through our test project, WFS will learn about the viability of automated vehicles in a busy airport tarmac environment to help us understand any limitations or challenges we will need to overcome before any future deployment of this technology at airports around the world.”

The project is aligned with AGV guidelines being developed by IATA’s Ground Operations Automation and Digitisation working group.

FASEREK, MOVVO and SIMAI are also taking part in the project.

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]