International Airlines Group (IAG), the company that owns British Airways and Aer Lingus, has announced a partnership with transport technology developer Aurrigo International to launch autonomous aviation solutions and vehicles across the UK.
The partnership will begin with a four-month evaluation and simulation phase to explore the use of the company’s autonomous vehicles in a controlled environment.
Aurrigo CEO David Keene said: “This partnership with one of the world’s largest airline groups is a great endorsement of the capabilities of our technology and the potential of automation to improve efficiencies and solve the challenges facing modern aviation.”
An initial trial program valued at £250k ($304k) will take place at a “large UK airport” before the partnership leads to the deployment of Aurrigo vehicles in the country by the first half of 2025.
The company’s rollout would include its Auto-DollyTug vehicle, which transports baggage, the Auto-Cargo, a flat-bed vehicle to transport cargo trailers, and Auto-Sim, a software program that creates a 3D digital twin to optimise airport operations.
Jorge Saco, chief information, procurement, services, and innovation officer at IAG, said: “Automation at airports is a key focus for us and having assessed our options we are pleased to be working with Aurrigo.
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“We first trialled the prototype Auto-Dolly in 2019 and after revisiting it post-Covid, we were impressed by how far their vehicle capabilities have progressed. We look forward to this technology helping to build our leadership position in aviation automation.”
The IAG partnership follows a similar agreement between Aurrigo and the Changi Airport Group in Singapore which began in February of this year.