Self-driving snowploughs were used for the first time on 19 March, 2018, to clear a runway at Fagernes Airport in Leirin, Norway, located 200km north of Oslo. It is hoped the technology could keep flight schedules on track without the need to have staff on standby.
The project was developed by Yeti Snow Technology, co-owned by Semcon and Øveraasen, for Norwegian airport operator Avinor. The snowploughs are 20m long and 5.5m wide. They can clear an area of 357,500m² an hour, and can work in formation.
“Autonomous snowploughs will allow airports all over the world to streamline their activities and reduce delays for their passengers,” said Markus Granlund, CEO at Semcon. “This is a good example of how autonomous vehicles can increase profitability and add value for people.”
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,” said John Emil Halden, Semcon project manager.
“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.”