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Changi Airport Group trials Aurrigo’s new autonomous baggage handling vehicle

Changi Airport Group (CAG) has partnered with Aurrigo International plc (Aurrigo) to trial the newest version of its Auto-DollyTug, an electric-powered autonomous vehicle, at Changi airport.

3rd generation Auto-DollyTug at Changi airport
3rd generation Auto-DollyTug at Changi airport - Changi Airport Group

Aurrigo’s latest Auto-DollyTug, which has new ground handling capabilities and is ‘more manoeuvrable’, will be put through different scenarios to assess its efficiency and speed when it comes to aircraft turnaround times.

According to Aurrigo, the latest Auto-DollyTug can rotate in its own length and, using the groundbreaking sideways drive system, move directly sideways and slide into tight spaces, enabling the swift delivery of a single unit load device (ULD) even when other ground support equipment (GSE) is in place at the aircraft.

In an industry first, the latest version also features Aurrigo’s auto-loading and release management system that adds bi-directional robotic arms to the body to allow the vehicle to autonomously load and unload the ULD from itself.

In a statement, Professor David Keene, CEO at Aurrigo, said: “Auto-DollyTug is the result of clean sheet of paper thinking, as we didn’t just want a modified conventional tractor that could tow some dollies to an area near the aircraft without a driver.

“Our technology can not only carry a ULD on its body, which maximises carrying capacity without increasing the length of the train, it can also autonomously transfer that ULD directly on to a JCPL [jumbo container and pallet loader] or High Loader.

“This level of capability has been made possible by designing a vehicle to be electric and autonomous from day one,” he said. “We have never built a diesel-powered airport vehicle so we don’t have to work around the compromises of a legacy GSE vehicle product.

“This third generation of the Auto-DollyTug has been designed to incorporate the experience we have gained from the extensive airside testing already carried out with our second generation vehicle at Changi Airport.”

The earlier versions of Auto-DollyTug have been on trial at Singapore Changi Airport since February 2022. Aurrigo said this testing phase has given them the opportunity to deploy its vehicles in a live airside environment and to push the limits of its technology in a hot and humid climate, where extreme rain events are a frequent feature of airside operations.

Poh Li San, senior vice president, Terminal 5 specialised systems at CAG, said: “Changi Airport is exploring the use of different vehicles across the airport, especially to automate airside operations.

“The latest Auto-DollyTug has made its airside debut at our airport and we look forward to studying how it handles the challenges of a dynamic airport environment.”