ANA partners with Toyota to test autonomous towing prototype at Nagoya airport

All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest airline, will collaborate with Toyota Industries to conduct tests of an advanced automatic towing tractor at Chubu (Nagoya) Centrair International Airport from 10-14 February.

The airport was selected because it hosted over 100,000 departures and arrivals in fiscal 2018, meaning that logistics operations must be performed at the highest standards. The tests are designed to provide the necessary safety and performance data to ensure that the tractor will be able to handle a variety of real-world situations when it is put into service. The development of this autonomous tractor is the latest example of the carrier embracing innovative technology to increase convenience and improve service for its passengers.

“ANA wants to be a leader in the latest technological breakthroughs, and the testing of the autonomous tractor with Toyota Industries fits right in with our heritage of innovation,” said Shinichi Abe, executive vice president of ANA. “We will continue looking for ways to make the travel experience more efficient and reliable.”

The partnership is part of a venture to promote aviation innovation by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in response to anticipated labour shortages that will be the result of a declining population coupled with increased production. By working to automate baggage and cargo handling operations, the airline is promoting efficient airport ground support operations, aiming to create an easy and comfortable working environment for all with less labor and personnel. Based on the results of the tests, ANA will work to commercialize them within fiscal 2020.

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