Gatwick claims it will be the first airport to operate self-driving cars “airside”, using a system from Oxford University spin-off Oxbotica. The vehicles will move staff around the airport, but at this stage, they will not be used by airline passengers.
If the six-month trial is successful, the airport says it may use autonomous vehicles for other purposes, such as “aircraft push back tugs, passenger load bridges, baggage tugs and transportation buses”. There are about 40 potential airport applications.
Gatwick says it has 300 airside vehicles and that they are stationary 90 percent of the time. Autonomous vehicles would be able to take themselves wherever they were needed. The airport would be able to reduce the number required, and make other cost savings.