Aviation innovation claims major title at Made in the Midlands Awards

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A Coventry-based company that is changing the way baggage and cargo is moved around airports across the globe has secured one of the major titles at the Made in the Midlands Awards.

Aurrigo Auto Dolly Tug Autonomous Electric Baggage & Cargo Vehicle with Trailers

Aurrigo International plc secured the Manufacturing Innovation Award in front of more than 300 people in Birmingham, beating off intense competition from the likes of XCAM, Ocean LED Marine and Thomas Dudley.

The ambitious company, which employs over 100 people at its Advanced Engineering Centre in the West Midlands, impressed judges with the way it has designed, developed and built the Auto-DollyTug®, an electric-powered autonomous vehicle that is set to replace outdated diesel tugs.

This innovation will help airports reduce costs, increase operational efficiencies, improve safety, and substantially reduce their carbon footprint.

Impressively, Aurrigo is not just talking about this technology, it is deploying the Auto-DollyTug® airside at six airports across the world, including Changi in Singapore and Cincinnati/North Kentucky.

Miles Garner, Sales and Marketing Director, picked up the accolade on the evening:

“UK manufacturing has always been a hotbed of innovation and I’m delighted that our efforts in developing real-world autonomous technology have been recognised at the Made in the Midlands Awards.

“The competition was fierce, and it was fantastic to hear about the new products and processes the other finalists were bringing to market, all of which will create jobs and generate domestic GDP.”

He continued: “To come out on top of such a prestigious list is a major achievement for our business and testimony to the hard work and dedication of our staff in Coventry and in our international offices in Singapore and Canada.

“A lot of companies are talking about autonomy, but few have developed an autonomous vehicle that will be operational in a live, working environment. That is what we have done, and this is just the start, with lots of exciting conversations taking place with airports and operators all over the world.”

Combining the utility of a baggage tractor and the unit load device (ULD) carrying capability of an airport dolly, the latest Auto-DollyTug® can carry up to four ULDs in one go, rotate in its own length using 360-degree tank turn capability and, using the groundbreaking sideways drive system, move directly sideways and slide into tight spaces in baggage halls and aircraft stands.

In an industry first, it also features Aurrigo’s auto-loading and release management system that adds bi-directional robotic arms to the body to allow the vehicle to autonomously load and unload the ULD from itself.

Miles concluded: “Now that we’ve won the regional title, we’re focusing on bringing the national ‘Innovation Award’ back to the West Midlands later this year.”