A case study on autonomous shuttles operating on the airport apron.
Triple AAA: Airport Apron Autonomous Shuttles
In 1971 the world's first automated people mover was introduced at Tampa Airport in Florida, with over 50 airports worldwide following suit. Airports now are at the forefront of another automation revolution, by being one of the first to introduce autonomous vehicles. This is not surprising as this type of innovation contributes to solving the logistical challenges they are facing.
The interest of airports is encouraging as the typically high operational availability required helps push the industry to maturity. Brussels Airport Zaventem is the first to commit to a permanent application using autonomous shuttles. Where the application at Zaventem is located on the landside, there is a great opportunity on the airside as well. With autonomous vehicles able to replace shuttle busses that operate between terminals and apron buses that go from the airplane to the gate, there are many opportunities for autonomous shuttles on the airside of both small and large airports worldwide.
What are the requirements for Airport Apron Autonomous shuttles? Where triple AAA indicates the best and most creditworthy partner in finance, it is the minimal acceptable standard when it comes to autonomous shuttles. All systems would need to carry a minimum rating of AAA just to be deemed operationally safe. Anything less is unacceptable.