All Nippon Airways (ANA) has announced a new partnership with Toyota Industries Corporation to conduct a test of an autonomous towing tractor. The trial will take place at Tokyo Haneda Airport from 29 march to 2 April.
Toyota Industries will introduce a newly developed autonomous towing tractor equipped with higher location tracking abilities that ensure smooth operations between indoor and outdoor environments. This advanced, high-precision model is able to transport a large amount of cargo, even in the congested driving conditions found at Tokyo Haneda Airport. The new tractor boasts increased location tracking abilities and improved towing capacity. In addition, a plastic glazing window developed by Toyota Industries has been used in the cabin to ensure greater safety while also reducing its weight.
By building on the information gained from prior tests, the vehicle will be equipped to navigate open spaces as well as congested environments. It is equipped with 3D LiDAR and a 2D laser scanner, as well as advanced components that allow it to constantly track its position via road pattern matching and GPS.
“Our work with Toyota Industries has led to several successful autonomous towing tractor tests that we have continually learned from,” said Masaki Yokai, Senior Vice President of ANA. “We are excited about the opportunity to take this technology one step further by running trials at Haneda Airport. As we work with Toyota Industries to create the “Simple & Smart” airport of the future, ANA remains committed to integrating advanced technology in order to improve the travel experience.”
ANA has previously conducted tests of autonomous vehicles in the past at Kyushu Saga Airport and Nagoya Chubu Airport, and these upcoming trials will measure the performance of the latest model, confirming that it is able to operate safely and efficiently in a major airport setting.
If the vehicles perform as expected, ANA aims to begin utilising autonomous technologies from October. ANA projects that this technology will be widespread by 2025 and will form a crucial component in the “Simple & Smart” airport of the future.
“We are collaborating with ANA at Haneda Airport to accelerate the development of innovative technology,” said Hisashi Ichijo, Executive Officer of Toyota Industries. “We are making important breakthroughs that bring us one step closer to our goal of establishing autonomous driving technology that is able to make airport logistics smarter around the world.”