The operational part of the project is for an initial four week period at the airport, which is expected to start in March 2024.
The Auto-DollyTug combines the utility of a baggage/cargo tractor, with the ULD carrying capability of an airport dolly, making a more flexible and space efficient vehicle.
This means that a combination of an Auto-DollyTug and three trailers carries four ULDs or over 30% more than a traditional tug set-up of the same overall length. Auto-DollyTug incorporates robotic arms on the body, allowing the vehicle to autonomously load and unload a ULD itself.
The German project follows on from successful testing at Changi Airport in Singapore with the Auto-DollyTug, which has been running since February 2022 and is being funded by the Germany Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV) and is carried out under the academic leadership of the Fraunhofer IML (Institute for Material Flow and Logistics). The Frankfurt University of Applied Science is part of the Digital Testbed Air Cargo (DTAC) project.
Aurrigo CEO David Keene said: “We are absolutely delighted to win this first deployment in Germany, following on from announcements we have made already in Singapore, USA, and the UK. This is an endorsement of our strategy to concentrate on aviation, a sector where there is a clear demand for autonomous, electric vehicles to reduce emissions, improve efficiency and allow for continued growth in volumes, despite a shortage of security cleared ground staff.”