Semcon explores autonomous snow-clearing technology


Semcon has announced it is exploring the opportunities smarter vehicle technology could provide to keep airports open during harsh winters.

The company is intending to develop new autonomous solutions that can clear snow from landing lights safely and more cost-effectively than the more time-consuming manual approach currently relied on.

In partnership with Lundberg Hymas, a Semcon tractor will be made autonomous, making it possible to steer the vehicle remotely from a Yeti Snow Technology-developed traffic management center.

Anne Piegsa, technical project manager at Semcon, said, “It may seem like a little thing, but runways are shut down if 15% of their lights are disabled – and that results in significant delays and costs money.

“There are major benefits to be gained by using autonomous solutions here, not least when it comes to enhancing the safety of both aircraft and personnel.

“Smart automation of airports will make it possible to keep more of the smaller, less busy airports open and retain staff thanks to reduced costs and increased safety.”

Extreme vehicle precision is required, and the vehicle has to be able to operate in all weathers.

The technology is being developed by Semcon for LFV (the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration) as part of its AVAP project (Autonomous Vehicles for Airports).

Husqvarna, RISE, FlyPulse, Swedavia and Combitech are also working on various subprojects as part of this initiative. The project’s achievements will be demonstrated at Örnsköldsvik Airport, Sweden, in a year’s time.

Interested in autonomous industrial vehicles? Check out the Autonomous Industrial Vehicle Technology Conferencewhich takes place during iVT Expo. Both the conference and iVT Expo take place on February 13-14, 2019 in Cologne, Germany. 

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James joined the Industrial Vehicle Technology International team in 2017. Previously he was Assistant Editor on an engineering title for several years and has worked for various other trade magazines before that. James is happily married and has a young daughter and son who keep him busy.

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