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BA trials green driverless vehicles at Heathrow Airport

As part of its ongoing £6.5bn investment for customers, British Airways is trialling autonomous, emissions-free baggage vehicles at its home at Heathrow, to help the airline further improve punctuality and depart every flight on time.

British Airways currently operates up to 800 flights a day to and from Heathrow, transporting around 75,000 bags back and forth between its baggage halls and aircraft.

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Now, in what is believed to be a world first, the airline, in conjunction with Heathrow Airport and autonomous vehicle specialist, Aurrigo, is trialling driverless baggage vehicles, which are known as dollies.

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Carrying up to 40 bags in one journey, the driverless dollies use the latest navigating technology to memorise the airfield to determine the shortest route to transport luggage. Unlike the current vehicles, the new autonomous dollies will depart for the aircraft as soon as each one is full, speeding up the aircraft loading process. In addition to improving operational efficiency, the trial also forms part of the airline’s wider environmental commitment to run an emissions-free airside operation.

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If successful, the dollies could transport customers’ baggage to and from the aircraft by 2021.

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British Airways already operates emissions-free remote-controlled Mototok vehicles at Heathrow to pushback all of its short-haul flights and is trialling the devices for long-haul flights. These vehicles are powered by Heathrow’s 100% renewable electricity supply saving 7,400 tonnes of C02 every year compared to traditional baggage tugs. The airline also operates environmentally-friendly electric taxis to transport premium transiting customers between their arriving and departing flights.   

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He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

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