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Aviation innovation wins Made in the Midlands Award

Posted on 29 Apr 2024. Edited: John Hunter. Read 529 times.
Aviation innovation wins Made in the Midlands AwardCoventry-based Aurrigo International plc, a 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 held last week. The company secured the prestigious 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.

Aurrigo, 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it has designed, developed and built the Auto-DollyTug, an electric-powered autonomous vehicle that is set to replace outdated diesel tugs at airports. This innovation will them reduce costs, increase operational efficiencies, improve safety, and significantly 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.

AurrigoMiles Garner, Aurrigo’s sales and marketing director, (pictured left) received the award from Made in the Midlands’ Kurt Jacobs. He said: “UK manufacturing has always been a hotbed of innovation and I am delighted that our efforts in developing real-world autonomous technology have been recognised in this way. 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 a 360deg 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 automatic 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. Mr Garner concluded: “Now that we have won the regional title, we are focusing on bringing the national Innovation Award back to the West Midlands later this year.”