Changi Airport Group (CAG) has partnered with gateway services provider SATS to trial TractEasy for autonomous baggage towing on live flights with the support of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.
Observations from the trials should help CAG to refine its thinking on autonomous vehicle technology, infrastructure requirements and other enablers required to support autonomous vehicle movement on its airside.
According to CAG, fewer vehicles at its airside due to Covid-19 restrictions has presented an opportunity for CAG’s airside transformation office to trial the transfer of baggage between aircraft and the baggage handling area using autonomous tractors.
A proof of technology trial started in October 2020 and. since August 2021, the tractor has been trialled in a live operational environment in Terminal 3.
A safety operator has been deployed in the tractor during the trials and, in the event that human intervention is required, the safety operator can stop the vehicle as necessary.
CAG said it is exploring technology to automate baggage transportation so that its workers can instead focus on last-mile operations, which is regarded as more complex and difficult to automate.
Furthermore, CAG believes this will enable the airport to redesign and upgrade the job scopes of its airside workers.