ANA Partners with Toyota Industries to Test Advanced Autonomous Tow Tractor
• The latest in a series of autonomous vehicle tests will be the most thorough yet
• The trials will take place at Tokyo Haneda Airport
TOKYO, March 22, 2021 - All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan's largest and 5-Star airline for eight consecutive years, will partner with Toyota Industries Corporation (Toyota Industries) to conduct a test of the latest autonomous tow tractor in the restricted area at Tokyo Haneda Airport from March 29 to April 2, 2021. These trials be the first to take place at Haneda Airport.
"Our work with Toyota Industries has led to several successful autonomous tow tractor tests that we have continually learned from," said Masaki Yokai, Senior Vice President of ANA. "We are excited about the opportunity to take this technology one step further by running trials at Haneda Airport. As we work with Toyota Industries to create the Simple & Smart airport of the future, ANA remains committed to integrating advanced technology in order to improve the travel experience."
"We are collaborating with ANA at Haneda Airport to accelerate the development of innovative technology," said Hisashi Ichijo, Executive Officer of Toyota Industries. "We are making important breakthroughs that bring us one step closer to our goal of establishing autonomous driving technology that is able to make airport logistics smarter around the world."
For this latest round of tests, Toyota Industries will introduce a newly developed autonomous tow tractor equipped with higher location tracking abilities that ensure smooth operations between indoor and outdoor environments. This advanced, high-precision model is able to transport a large amount of cargo, even in the congested driving conditions found at Tokyo Haneda airport. The new tractor boasts increased location tracking abilities and improved towing capacity - even on inclined surfaces. In addition, a plastic glazing window developed by Toyota Industries has been used in the cabin to ensure greater safety while also reducing its weight.
The autonomous tow tractor being tested is a breakthrough and features the latest technology. By building on the information gained from prior tests, the vehicle will be equipped to navigate open spaces as well congested environments. It is equipped 3D LiDAR and a 2D laser scanner, as advanced components that allow it to constantly track its position via road pattern matching and GPS.
ANA has previously conducted tests of autonomous vehicles in the past at Kyushu Saga Airport and Nagoya Chubu Airport, and these upcoming trials will measure the performance of the latest model, confirming that it is able to operate safely and efficiently in a major airport setting. If the vehicles perform as expected, ANA aims to begin utilizing autonomous technologies beginning in October. ANA projects that this technology will be widespread by 2025 and will form a crucial component in the "Simple & Smart" airport of the future.
ANA has worked with Toyota Industries to conduct tests of autonomous tow tractors since 2019 as part of an effort guided by the Japanese Government's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. The initiative aims to position Japan for long term success in a rapidly changing environment as labor shortages resulting from the decline in the population accompany economic expansion and increased production.
ANA and Toyota Industries will continue working together to advance automation in the aviation industry.
Following the "Inspiration of Japan" high quality of service, ANA has been awarded the respected 5-Star rating every year since 2013 from SKYTRAX. ANA is the only Japanese airline to win this prestigious designation eight years in a row. Additionally, ANA has been recognized by Air Transport World as "Airline of the Year" three times in the past 10 years - 2007, 2013 and 2018, becoming one of the few airlines winning this prestigious award for multiple times.
ANA was founded in 1952 with two helicopters and has become the largest airline in Japan, as well as one of the most significant airlines in Asia, operating 82 international routes and 118 domestic routes (as of December 2019). ANA offers a unique dual hub model which enables passengers to travel to Tokyo and connect through the two airports in the metropolitan Tokyo, NARITA and HANEDA, to various destinations throughout Japan, and also offers same day connections between various North American, Asian and Chinese cities.
ANA has been a member of Star Alliance since 1999 and has joint venture partnerships with United Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines.
In addition to the full service and award-winning record of ANA, the ANA Group's subsidiary Peach Aviation Limited is the leading LCC in Japan, and has expanded following the integration of Vanilla Air Inc. in late 2019. The ANA Group carried 54.4 million passengers in FY2018, has approximately 43,000 employees and a fleet of 260 aircraft. ANA is a proud launch customer and the biggest operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
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About Toyota Industries Corporation
Toyota Industries was founded in 1926 in Japan as a manufacturer of the automatic looms which the founder, Sakichi Toyoda had invented and perfected. Since then Toyota Industries has expanded the scope of its business domains and currently manufactures various products including textile machinery, car air-conditioning compressors, automobiles, engines, car electronics, and materials handling equipment. Especially, our lift trucks, car air-conditioning compressors and air-jet looms are world-wide best sellers*1. Toyota Industries Group has approximately 66,000 employees and the net sales is 2,171.3 bn yen in FY2020.
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*1 Based on Toyota Industries Corporation's assessment.