October 19, 2023
Staff at Toronto’s Pearson Airport have been getting some extra assistance from Honda’s latest Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV).
The Japanese automaker revealed the third generation of the AWV earlier this year, and chose the Canadian airport for an ambitious field test to demonstrate its capabilities.
The all-electric AWV – first unveiled as a concept at CES in 2018 – has been created by Honda to help carry out repetitive tasks, freeing up workers for more productive roles and the Toronto showcase was designed to highlight its potential to airport operators.
The AWV, which can operate autonomously or manually by remote control, was specifically tasked with carrying out a perimeter fence inspection, a key role at airports where security is obviously paramount.
Routes for the AWV were created using Honda software on a tablet-based interface, and then it was able to navigate its way around the site, making use of a camera for real-time monitoring and a suite of sensors to operate autonomously. These included GPS for location and radar and lidar for obstacle detection, to ensure it did not come into contact with other vehicles or human workers.
Honda also leveraged wireless tech from Cisco and Genwave, an operating system from Illuminex AI and cloud-based software from Eagle Aerospace to carry out the inspection.
The AWV’s functionality extends beyond this, however, with Honda exploring an array of additional use cases. These include transporting aircraft components and equipment, cargo hauling and even removal of foreign objects and debris from runways and aprons.
It would also be possible to secure a mower to the AWV and deploy it to autonomously cut grass around airfields – an area Honda has already demonstrated its expertise in via the unveiling of an electric autonomous lawnmower earlier in October.
The AWV offers a top speed of 10 mph, with a range of nearly 28 miles. Up to 880 pounds can be carried on its platform bed, and it’s rated to tow up to 1,653 pounds.
Ultimately, Honda hopes that the Toronto showcase will help to accelerate the AWV towards commercial deployments.
“We’re ready to move to the next stage of exploring real-world applications with airfield operators,” said Jason VanBuren, Honda systems engineering manager.
“As we work towards commercializing the AWV, we want to understand the needs of airfield operators and airport authorities to create new value by streamlining operations, enhancing safety performance and helping to meet airfield environmental sustainability goals.”
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