The growing trend of baggage tractors - a combination of "manned + unmanned" driving

2023-07-21 18:14:14

An airport baggage towing tractor is a vehicle designed to transport and haul passenger baggage at airports. It is usually designed to have a large load capacity and carrying capacity to cope with large amounts of baggage.

Its history can be traced back to the early days of aviation. It has evolved from its beginnings with the use of labor power and livestock for transportation to converted trucks. However, their load capacity and maneuverability still could not meet the growing market demand. As a result, more powerful specialized models emerged. Modern baggage tractors feature advanced handling systems, safety equipment and user-friendly design to ensure efficient, safe and comfortable baggage transportation services. Advances in electric technology have also driven the emergence of environmentally friendly electric tractor-trailers, reducing noise and emission levels and adapting to the need to be environmentally friendly.


Autonomous driving technology has matured in recent years, and the landing of this technology in airport scenarios has become a major breakthrough for baggage tractors. Vehicle safety accident rate is high, the driver's work pressure is huge, high labor costs —— the pain points faced by the airport is exactly where the advantages of automatic driving technology lies. At the same time, the airport exists a large number of vehicles that can be unmanned transformation, the requirements for the self technology is also relatively low, is a very good application scenario.


However, there are many problems with the automation of baggage tractors. The first is the problem of localization. The main positioning method used by most automated driving companies is GNSS/RTK, and at the same time, they will utilize high-precision maps with visual SLAM or LIDAR SLAM as auxiliary positioning to ensure the redundancy of the vehicle positioning function. However, this type of positioning method will sometimes be interfered by a number of factors, such as the mutual interference between various signals, the protection of sensitive areas in airports, bad weather, etc. Once the vehicle's positioning is out of control, the unmanned vehicle in the flight zone will form a huge safety hazard. In addition, vision SLAM or LiDAR SLAM may also fail in the flight area of the airport.


Vehicle control is another issue. There are usually 4-6 trailers behind the baggage hauler, which can elevate the difficulty of vehicle control if the vehicle changes lanes or completes difficult turning maneuvers (90-degree or 180-degree turns). Furthermore, a number of factors can affect the difficulty of controlling a baggage tractor, such as the number of trailers, the weight of the cargo at the rear, the unevenness of the weight above each trailer, and the interaction force between trailer hooks.


In conclusion, the airport baggage tractor is an indispensable and important piece of equipment in the airport, which can provide passengers with convenient baggage transportation services. Driverless technology, as an emerging field of technology, will lead the intelligent development of baggage tractors and bring greater convenience to passengers and airports.