TLD and EasyMile Unveil TractEasy

Oct. 12, 2017
TractEasy is a driverless baggage tractor, incorporating software that allows the robotized unit to operate in a complex and live ramp environment.

Munich, Germany, October 10th, 2017 -- Ground Support Equipment, as many other driving machines, are experiencing a technological revolution with the development of assistance and automation systems that will change the ramp operating environment in the coming years. In keeping with that trend, TLD and EasyMile joined their expertise to develop the TractEasy.

TractEasy is a driverless baggage tractor, incorporating software that allows the robotized unit to operate in a complex and live ramp environment. This complete solution integrates  the ramp operation organization, the safety parameters of the unit on the ramp, the navigational software to optimize routes as well as the vital security layers to ensure protection against outside interference.

TractEasy will be based on TLD’s successful electric tractor JET-16 and will integrate all remote control, communication and safety detection tools developed by EasyMile as part of their driverless technology - one of the most advanced autonomous vehicle solutions - already used in EasyMile’s EZ10 driverless shuttle. TractEasy solution is meant to transfer baggage and freight from the terminal to the aircraft area, on the service roads, with a fully driverless approach.

It will operate in normal traffic, without infrastructure modification, and in all weather conditions. TractEasy will be fitted with a complete cabin to allow the operator at the stand to take control for the final approach of the dollies to the aircraft. TractEasy will  generate significant operational benefits, allowing a pay-back expected in less than 2 years, depending on the operations and conditions.

“This is a strategic partnership for TLD, allowing us to address a fast growing customer demand with an existent proven technology. Airports represent a real short term opportunity for driverless vehicles, with a well-defined environment, and very significant potential pay-back. TLD and EasyMile are sharing strong values, starting with innovation,” said Antoine Maguin, CEO of TLD.

“TLD will benefit from EasyMile technological leadership and strategic partnership with key players in the industry such as Continental. On the other hand, EasyMile is happy to provide its technology to a well proven tractor platform, able to address the customers challenge on the ramp, and to the extensive TLD service network. Those synergies will definitely create value to customers,” said Gilbert Gagnaire, CEO of EasyMile.

The first prototype of TractEasy, the MSN-001, was displayed at TLD’s booth, C30 Outdoor Area, at Inter Airport 2017, while the driverless technology will be demonstrated live with an EasyMile EZ10 next to the booth. The prototype is expected to finalize its qualification test at Francazal Airport by mid-2018 for mid-scale applications with selected launch customers. Commercial applications are expected in Q1 2019.  TLD JET-16 electric baggage tractor is a standard in zero-emission ramp solution suiting a wide range of applications, from airport baggage handling to industrial uses. It offers a drawbar pull ranging from 1600 daN (3500 lbs) to 2000 daN (4400 lbs). Its AC technology allows progressive acceleration, high speeds over long distances and overall excellent towing performances. The system has been robotized for the driverless applications, while keeping a complete driver position to allow the final operations. JET-16 is made of a heavy-duty single-piece chassis to withstand severe operating conditions.

EasyMile’s first product is a 12 people driverless shuttle called EZ10. EZ10 has already driven more than 120 000km with full Level 4 autonomy. EZ10 will also be demonstrated at Inter Airport 2017. It is particularly suited for first/last mile passenger transportation needs of airport airside or terminal side.  EasyMile’s driverless technology is based on the fusion of different sensors Lidars, cameras, GPS… and uses advanced algorithms. EasyMile has also one of the most advanced fleet management solution, one of the first fully dedicated to autonomous vehicles.