Gaussin has entered into an agreement to cooperate with Siemens for AGVs in airports.
Gaussin Manugistique and Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics (SPPAL) have signed an exclusive agreement for the “worldwide commercialisation” of Gaussin’s AGVs for baggage ULD (Unit Load Device) transportation.
The deal is another boost for Gaussin, following its earlier announcement of a partnership with ST Kinetics for AGVs for port applications. The market for port AGVs is still relatively small, and Gaussin is certainly excited about the potential for expanding into airports. “This partnership will grant Gaussin a market access to international airports where SPPAL operates their baggage handling systems (BHS). SPPAL serves 16 of the 20 largest passenger airports worldwide, handling a total of 1.1 billion airline customers per year. Furthermore, six of the world’s top ten cargo airports are Siemens customers, which together handle around 19 million tons of goods annually. The company’s successful activities additionally encompass long-term operating and maintenance contracts with nearly 40 airports around the globe,” Gaussin noted.
Gaussin has had its eye on AGVs for airports for some time, and has been developing its patented ATT “Autonomous Airport Transfer” machine for four years. The machine will powered by Gaussin’s LMT or ultrafast power packs and navigate using its “infrastructure-less Natural Navigation System”.
The ATT, along with Gaussin’s navigation and fleet management systems, can be integrated into Siemens turnkey offering for baggage handling. Initially the new AAT range will be part of the SPPAL portfolio.
Michael Reichle, CEO of Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics, said: “I’m very pleased we could sign a cooperation with Gaussin. Autonomous vehicles will play a major role in airports in the future. They will support seamless and faster baggage and cargo handling operations and increase passenger satisfaction.”
This is an interesting statement - as far as is known, there are no AGVs operating in baggage handling at airports (yet). In fact the number of people working around equipment on the tarmac at an airport would likely make the application more challenging than horizontal transport in a container terminal. Reichle’s view reflects confidence that “autonomous” technology will find a way for robots to operate safely around people, eliminating the need to separate “automated” equipment from people that makes container terminal automation very complicated today.
For Gaussin, being selected by Siemens “validates Gaussin’s know-how and patents on advanced technologies in reliable, robust heavy-duty automated electric vehicles”. “Being a partner of Siemens for the Airport of the future is very promising,” said Christophe Gaussin, CEO of the company. “The signature of this cooperation is the recognition of our innovative technologies by one of the world leaders of baggage handling systems”.
Michael Reichle, CEO of Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics (2nd from left) and Christophe Gaussin, CEO of Gaussin Manugistique (3rd from left) together with their teams