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Autonomous airside cargo project receives UK government funding

photo_camera Credit: Adobe Stock

A project to develop automated airside cargo movements has received almost £500,000 in funding from the UK government.

The multi-million-pound project led by British tech firm Aurrigo and UPS aims to create a unique autonomous airside 7.5 tonnes cargo dolly.

The grant is a part of the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility: Supply Chain competition, which is helping 43 British companies across 13 projects seize early opportunities to develop self-driving technologies, products, and service ready for the connected and automated mobility market.

Building on previous experience with smaller baggage dollies, the £480,000 grant funding will enable Aurrigo and UPS to advance creating the autonomous airside cargo dolly. Additionally, a simulation tool will be developed to quantify the benefits of Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) for air cargo operations, providing operators with insights into optimal CAM vehicle types or required infrastructure modifications.

In August 2022, the UK government announced its approach to supporting the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles to deliver societal and economic benefits.

It is the government’s vision that the UK will start seeing the deployments of commercially operating self-driving vehicles, improving the ways in which people and goods are moved across the nation.

To turn this vision into reality, CCAV launched the Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility (CCAM) programme to target early commercial self-driving vehicle opportunities and support the UK supply chain to grow and fill technology gaps necessary for their deployment.

On 1 February 2023, the government announced the winners of its deployments competition, where seven successful projects from around the UK form the most advanced set of commercial, self-driving passenger and freight operations anywhere in the world.

Projects are now underway in Belfast, Edinburgh, Sunderland, Strategic Road Network, Coventry, and Cambridge.

With a total funding of £28.5 million in joint government and industry support, 13 new supply chain projects will complement the deployment projects and will play a pivotal role in advancing the self-driving revolution by reinforcing the UK’s position at the forefront of connected and automated mobility technologies.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, said: “By supporting growth in the industries of the future, including through better regulation, we are delivering on our plan to get the economy growing and make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”

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