An autonomous tow tractor operating at Toulouse-Blagnac airport in France has been authorised to operate without a human on board.
French driverless software provider EasyMile announced the EZTow tow tractor, which has been operating at the airport since late 2022, had reached level 4 of autonomous driving, allowing it to operate on an extended route.
“Progressing to Level 4 is not just a technological achievement, it is a critical milestone in demonstrating the value of an industrial autonomous vehicle,” EasyMile says in a statement.
“By removing any human intervention on board, cost and time efficiency, scalability and flexibility are unlocked.
“It shows that driverless applications like this are not only truly capable of manoeuvring and navigating complex scenarios on their own, but that they are also commercially viable.”
Partners in the deployment are Alvest Group, TLD and Smart Airport Systems for the vehicle, EasyMile for the driverless technology and ground handling company Alyzia.
“The vehicle’s route prolongation from 800m to 2,000m will extend its use to more situations in the airport, such as studying baggage tracks and optimising trajectories and manoeuvres,” EasyMile says.
“The new route also adds challenges like narrow trajectories in the indoors area, also known as the luggage gallery, and more interactions with other traffic.”
EZTows are also in use at Narita International in Japan and at Changi Airport in Singapore.
They also operate at 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.