Autonomous snowploughs complete first test in Norway

By Tristan Shale-Hester

A group of autonomous snowploughs have been successfully tested after clearing the runway of a Norwegian airport.

The vehicles, developed by Yeti Snow Technology, are based on Mercedes-Benz HGVs and use autonomous technology from Swedish company Semcon to clear snow without the aid of a human driver.

These huge snowploughs measure 20m in length and five metres in width. They were tested Fagernes Airport in Leirin, Norway – 124 miles north of Oslo – where they had to clear enough snow so that planes would be able to take off and land.

The snowploughs have been developed by Yeti Snow Technology, which is co-owned by Semcon and airport vehicle developer Øveraasen, for Norwegian airport operator Avinor.

(Yeti Snow Technology)

They have sufficient capacity to clear a 357,500m² area in the space of one hour. Furthermore, multiple vehicles working at once can do so in formation, working out the most efficient snow clearing pattern available.

It is hoped that as the vehicles are further developed by Semcon, which is working with complex real-time systems and autonomous technology, they will be able to help make delayed flights due to snow a thing of the past.

(Yeti Snow Technology)

Markus Granlund, CEO of Semcon, commented: “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.”

John Emil Halden, project manager at Semcon, added: “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.”

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