Japan’s largest flag-carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA), in collaboration with Toyota Industries, will carry out additional tests of the robotic baggage loader and autonomous towing tractor in order to rapidly develop autonomous technology and accelerate the adoption of such technologies.

The additional tests, scheduled to be conducted between December 14 and 18, 2020, are expected to demonstrate the progress made by the autonomous technology. The trials will be conducted at Saga Airport (HSG), in Japan, which previously also served as the location for similar tests.

"ANA prides itself on our history of innovation and embrace of the latest technologies in order to maximize passengers' comfort and convenience, while improving the overall travel experience," said Masaki Yokai, Senior Vice President of ANA.

"Toyota Industries also has a legacy of innovation and we are proud to partner with an organization that is also dedicated to continually advance consumer needs. Innovation has always been a key component of our approach to offering unrivaled service and the upcoming tests at Saga Airport bring the next generation of smart technology one step closer to reality," Yokai added.

The advanced baggage loader, the first of its kind in Japan, would be capable of loading a piece of luggage every 25 seconds. If implemented, the loader’s robotic arm would be able to effortlessly lift items weighing up to 35 kilograms and would be able to accurately stack the luggage according to the size of an aircraft’s cargo compartment. The automated baggage loader is expected to modernize and rationalize baggage loading.

The autonomous towing tractor, capable of driving up to 15 km/h without human supervision, will be trialed without human input in order to confirm its record of efficient and safe operation.

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