Daimler Targets Airports for Driverless Snowplows

Daimler AG is developing 25-tonne driverless trucks designed to automatically clear snow from airport runways. The company aims to commercialize the vehicles in 2019.

 

The snowplows will be programmed to follow predetermined routes rather than using cameras and sensors to chart their path as they move along at 30 kph (19 mph), the Financial Times reports.

Daimler tells reporters that using an automated rather than autonomous approach results in a simpler and far less expensive vehicle. The company hopes to commercialize the trucks in 2019.

The three-year development project was commissioned by the Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt, Germany. The facility spends some €23 million annually on snow removal and plane de-icing.

FT notes that a key expense that would be eliminated by using the robotic snowplows is the current need to have 14 special truck drivers ready during the winter regardless of whether it’s actually snowing. The Daimler trucks could be deployed 24/7 as needed.