Fusion Processing and Bradshaw Electric Vehicles developing unmanned tow tractors

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Fusion Procession, a developer of autonomous drive systems, will deploy its CAVstar control and sensing system into Bradshaw Electric Vehicles’ tow tractors to automate factory and warehouse operations and airport logistics.

The unmanned ‘tugs’ can be used to haul both baggage trailers and goods trucks, improving safety and drive efficiencies in a range of commercial and industrial facilities.

Fusion CAVstar system will be deployed in Bradshaw’s third-generation of fully autonomous tow tractors – the T700 and T800, which are capable of hauling loads of up to seven tonnes and eight tonnes respectively.

The CAVstar control and sensing system will be deployed in Bradshaw’s third generation of full autonomous T700 and T800 tugs

The AI system features a range of sensors, including lidar, optical cameras and ultrasonics, to build up a picture of the environment around the vehicle.

The technology can plot an efficient and safe route through a factory or airport, with the tugs able to operate safely where GPS signal is unavailable and without the need for extensive infrastructure to be installed.

Furthermore, the CAVstar system can be retrofitted to existing vehicles where it will control the throttle, braking and steering systems to provide fully autonomous operation.

Fusion Processing’s CEO, Jim Hutchinson, said: “We firmly believe that autonomous vehicles can transform the logistics of large warehouses and airports where tow tractors are used extensively to haul trailers and baggage carts.

“We can apply our AI and engineering expertise developed on numerous autonomous vehicle projects, including the world’s first full-sized autonomous bus, to transform the warehouse logistics industry.”

Bradshaw Electric Vehicles added that the tug is ideal for autonomising production lines that run 24 hours a day. Its 48V system and rollout battery lends itself to extended run-time applications, negating the need for shift changes and down time.

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