Japanese technology company Soliton Systems has launched a trial of a remote-controlled “driverless” baggage tractor for towing trailers at Chubu International Airport, in a collaboration with Japan Airlines (JAL) and Chubu Sky Support (CSS).

The towing tractor is an existing vehicle in operation by JAL that has been modified with a remote control system developed by Soliton.

Remote driving centre

The tele-driving centre set-up in nearby Nagoya city will be responsible for the remote operation of the vehicle where CSS employees, who are qualified to drive at Chubu International Airport, in central Japan, will take responsibility for the remote control.

The communication between the vehicle and the remote centre uses the Smart-telecaster Zao series of video transmission devices that will enable high stability, with ultra-low latency in video streaming and control communication.

Improving productivity

The initiative is aimed at improving the productivity of freight-towing vehicles in airport operations. It is hoped the trial will demonstrate that a remote system equipped with functions such as obstacle detection warning will allow airport operators situated away from the site to recognise and judge the driving conditions and ensure that safety is not compromised.

Soliton hopes the technology will also open up new opportunities for increased efficiency.

This system uses the remote driving and remote automated driving technology that Soliton has developed and proven on other public roads trials, as well as for special environments such as restricted areas in ports, construction sites, and airports.
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