During TIACA’s Innovation days in Silicon Valley last month, organised by Matchlabn, senior delegates from across the air cargo industry met a wide variety of start-ups. The Loadstar is publishing a series of short articles looking at new technologies potentially suitable for the industry.

Start-up: AeroVect

Device: autonomous ground equipment on-airport


AeroVect – maker of technology for autonomous ground service equipment – has a good start-up story. After graduating from Harvard, the two founders began developing the software on an old airport vehicle in their garage. As it became viable, and began to self-drive on their street, they used it to deliver oranges to the neighbours, to keep them sweet.

Perhaps the most popular among Tiaca delegates of the airport-focused start-ups, AeroVect has designed software, which can be integrated with any existing vehicle. With 360-degree sensors and cameras, GPS and a wireless safety system, the truck can navigate a course, use indicators and a horn and stops when faced with a surprise obstruction, including a person.

It was built specifically for airside movements and is trained to recognise aircraft, GSE and markings unique to the airport environment, as well as airside traffic rules. It can be integrated into existing fleets and has been made with the transition from people to automation in mind.

For example, while it doesn’t need a driver, current regulations mean it also allows for a person – but the vehicle’s software will already know the airport layout. AeroVect has built a mapping kit, which enables it to build a digital twin of a major airport in less than two hours.

“This could be a game-changer”, said one executive.

”Large airports might have more than 1,000 vehicles and they can do damage to aircraft, or other equipment. It cuts the need for training for drivers too. Driving on-airport requires a lot of training, and that training leaves when the employee does.”

Vehicles are also able to share data with each other.


Use case: on-airport vehicle movements

Cost: not disclosed

Pros: reducing training, accidents

Cons: may need more regulatory authority approval

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