A Norway airport is getting its runway cleared with a unique piece of equipment – a fully autonomous or self-driving snow plow. Using existing technology, the Yeti project aims to showcase how much more efficiently and effective these snow plows are over human drivers.
Snowploughs, as they are known in Norway, measuring 20 meters long and 5.5 meters wide are sent out in groups to clear the runway. Working together, they can clear an entire runway in a much quicker fashion than humans can as well as they can go out in all sorts of weather.
At present, airports always need to be prepared and have staff on standby who can clear snow whenever they are needed. Problems with snow also result in many delays and stranded passengers every year.
“Autonomous snowploughs will allow airports all over the world to streamline their activities and reduce delays for their passengers. This is a good example of how autonomous vehicles can increase profitability and add value for people,” says Markus Granlund, CEO at Semcon.
On March 19, self- driving snowploughs were presented for the first time when they were deployed at Fagernes Airport in Leirin, Norway, 200 kilometers north of Oslo. This project has been developed by Yeti Snow Technology, co-owned by Semcon and Øveraasen, for Norwegian airport operator Avinor.
The snowploughs have enough capacity to clear an area of 357,500 square meters an hour.
One unique feature of these autonomous vehicles is that they can clear snow in formation, several vehicles working together, and with the same outstanding precision no matter the weather.
Semcon in Norway is contributing its expertise to the project, working with complex real-time systems and autonomous technology.
“We have designed a control system that sets up digital patterns for autonomous snow clearance at airports. The system can then download these patterns and monitor a number of vehicles that navigate using RTK GPS, an accurate form of position measurement, and communicate using 4G modems,” explains John Emil Halden, Semcon project manager.
This is a very cool project and a really good use of autonomous technology. Read more at semcon.com/yeti