During inter airport Europe 2017, held in Munich, Germany this past October, TLD and EasyMile unveiled its driverless baggage tractor - TractEasy.
Representatives from both companies were on hand to exhibit the autonomous vehicle, which incorporates software that allows the robotized tractor to operate on the ramp. The 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, according to company officials.
A press release announcing TractEasy's features explained the vehicle is based on TLD’s JET-16 electric tractor and integrates all remote control, communication and safety detection tools developed by EasyMile as part of their driverless technology which is already used in EasyMile’s EZ10 driverless shuttle.
TractEasy is designed to transfer baggage and cargo from the terminal to aircraft on the ramp, with a completely driverless approach.
“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 at inter airport 2017. According to officials, 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.