A new autonomous vehicle, called evoBOT, has completed its first practical trials in the cargo terminal and on the apron at Munich Airport.

The robot, developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (Fraunhofer IML), features two wheels and gripper arms and can keep itself perfectly balanced, as it is designed based on the principle of an inverse compound pendulum.

This makes it possible for the evoBOT to move on different and uneven surfaces, even with slopes.

“The development and expansion of the cargo and logistics sector are essential components of our corporate strategy. We welcome every initiative to optimise and digitalise handling processes,” said Lammers, CEO of Munich Airport.

“The evoBOT will facilitate the day-to-day work of our employees in the cargo area and make the workplace more attractive.”

The key difference of the dynamically stable evoBOT when compared to other robot designs is its two arms that make ‘and the “adaptive load pickup” possible. This means that the arms allow the robot to adapt to different shapes and sizes of objects and pick them up.

A step on the path to autonomous robots

It can take on a wide range of tasks, such as handling hazardous goods, transporting parcels for longer recurring distances, relieving employees during lifting and overhead work, procuring materials, or even providing support during the loading and unloading of aircraft.

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Despite its load capacity of 100kg, the evoBOT is “exceptionally agile” according to on its two wheels, according to Fraunhofer IML, capable of reaching a maximum speed of up to 60 km/h.

Due to its good manoeuvrability, the evoBOT can be operated both indoors and outdoors. Its low carbon footprint also contributes to a diverse range of uses.

“Our evoBOT is the beginning of a new population of autonomous vehicles and robots. With its arms and the fact that it moves on two wheels, it represents a step on the path to the humanoid future of robotics,” said Professor Michael ten Hompel, managing director of Fraunhofer IML.

“The practical test carried out at Munich Airport impressively underpins the potential of this development. The evoBOT can work as a fellow colleague in a wide range of applications.”