Semcon will devise smart ways to clear snow from landing lights using autonomous vehicles
11 January 2019
Gothenburg, Sweden-based Semcon has reported that it is devising smart ways to clear snow from landing lights using autonomous vehicles. The aim is to allow more airports to stay open by using technology to automate a time-consuming job that currently has to be carried out manually. Anne Piegsa, technical project manager at Semcon, commented: “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.” This project is being implemented by Semcon in partnership with Lundberg Hymas which is converting its tractor to operate autonomously. After conversion, it will be possible to steer the vehicles remotely from a traffic management centre developed by Yeti Snow Technology, and it will be possible to interrupt the clearing of snow, for example, to allow an aircraft to land. Extreme vehicle precision is required, and the vehicle has to be able to operate in all weathers – these factors present a challenge. Semcon has previous experience of projects involving similar situations, working with Yeti Snow Technology, a company co-owned with Øveraasen. A successful solution for keeping entire runways clear of snow using autonomous snowploughs was demonstrated in Norway last spring. “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,” Anne Piegsa said. 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.