Will the autonomous dolly improve Heathrow’s baggage crisis?

Aurrigo, Britain’s self-driving vehicle specialist has developed an autonomous dolly that Heathrow is trialling to move and transport bags from the plane to the luggage halls.

The trial began in March working with British Airways, and the self-driving dolly has been in motion around Terminal 5. It is considered to be a solution to reducing the chaotic hustle and bustle created at baggage collection. It has been designed to increase the speed of loading and unloading bags and improve waiting times for passengers.

After being contacted by IAG to use its expertise to deliver an autonomous dolly, Aurrigo, the Coventry manufacturer, converted an existing dolly using LIDAR and GPS technology. The firm will now embark on a larger project at its engineering centre to retrofit existing dollies across the wider aviation industry.

How will it improve current methods you may ask?

Currently, airlines have one manually driven dolly which tugs three dollies behind it to transport baggage however, one major flaw means the manual dolly cannot move until they are all full. The autonomous dolly however, can move on its own and ensures a faster, more effective loading time.

In addition to the time benefits, another major factor to be gained in introducing this new method into airlines is increased safety measures. For example, 90% of all accidents in motor vehicles are down to human error, so taking the human out of the equation should lead to fewer accidents. Apply this to an extremely busy airport, and a much safer environment will be created for customers and staff.

Aurrigo and IAG are now looking at ways they can incorporate this technology so it becomes an integral part of any ‘future airport”. David Keene, CEO of Aurrigo says, “We are now exploring different ways where we can create the production line and supply chain to rapidly build thousands of these autonomous dollies.”