Watch video: EZTow goes fully driverless at Toulouse airport

The EZTow at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport has gone fully driverless, reaching a critical milestone in the deployment of autonomous vehicles at airports.

Picture credit: EasyMile

The autonomous tug has been running at the airport since late 2022 and is the most deployed autonomous tow tractor globally.

Now it has progressed to Level 4 i.e no human interaction on board, meaning further benefits of cost and time efficiency and scalability and flexibility will be unlocked.

This latest development at Toulouse involves an extended route from 800m to 2000m covering the towing of luggage from landing positions to the baggage hall.

The EZTow will also be tested in how it handles various infrastructural challenges such as intersections, roundabouts, and turning circles, and in different weather conditions like rain, fog, and snow.

It will demonstrate the readiness of driverless solutions for commercial operations at airports, phasing them in with the range of manually-driven vehicles still in operation.

The partners behind the successful deployment of EZTow are Alvest Group, TLD and Smart Airport Systems (SAS) –  latter providing the driverless technology for the EasyMile vehicle – and Alyzia – one of Toulouse airport’s ground handlers.

The goal is to demonstrate how autonomous vehicles can optimise luggage and freight logistics and a key part of Alyzia’s ambitions to serve more flights and optimize baggage handling while guaranteeing everyone's safety.

“Airport autonomous tow tractor adoption is ready for take off,” said Richard Reno, CEO of TractEasy, the independent distributor of EZTow and joint venture between TLD and EasyMile.

“Now, with technology evolution, building pools of autonomous vehicle expertise and growing understanding of and capability to address operation environment barriers in the airport market, autonomous tow tractor deployments are set to take off paving the way for improved safety, higher efficiency and lower operating cost at airports around the world. They have emerged as a key part of an airport’s automation solution.”  

EZTows are in use at Narita International in Japan, and in a fleet at Changi Airport in Singapore. They also operate in a number of major automotive manufacturing plants and logistics centres in Europe and the United States, including the BMW Group Plant Dingolfing and Daimler Truck AG, in Germany.

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