This summer, London Gatwick Airport staff members will make aviation and automotive history when they ride driverless buses. The initial 6- month autonomous vehicle trial of the gateway will enter the record books as the first such airport test in the world.
Gatwick served 45.6 million passengers and 56 airlines in 2017. Fully one-quarter of the U.K. population lives within one hour of Gatwick. This makes the connections to 800 rail stations and 129 by direct train.
So this airport is an extremely busy place with passengers, staff, cars, trains, and airplanes moving in and out 24/7. The result of this new technology will fewer the vehicles on the field and also will reduce the emissions and costs if the program gets to succeed.
Currently, Gatwick has 300 airside vehicles. But maximum time, in fact, 90 % of the time, vehicles remain stationary while staff helps passengers to board the plane. This summer, the six-month trial will employ electric-powered driverless buses to move staff members.
Initially, the autonomous connects the buses Gatwick’s North and South terminals. The trial will not involve transporting passengers and there will be no movement of or contact with aircraft.
The Oxbotica software will manage the buses. This software company is also decided to develop autonomous vehicles to travel between Oxford and London.
The Cathal Corcoran who is Gatwick’s chief information officer said, “If this trial becomes successful then we could have an Uber-like service operating across the airfield which staff can hail as and when they need to travel.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) organization is also waiting for the trial. This organization found that more than 40 potential uses for self-driving vehicles at airports.