20 September 2019, Japan – Japan Airlines (JAL) and Narita International Airport Corporation (NAA) has announced the decision to launch a pilot program to transport air cargo and check-in baggage with autonomous towing tractors within a restricted area at the airport.

This trial is based on an offer from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism to operate autonomous towing tractors within restricted areas at the airport. Recently, the number of travelers to Japan has increased and the country is forecasting to welcome 40 million visitors by 2020. However, with the decline in the working age population, labor shortage is expected. To resolve this issue, JAL and NAA will proactively promote the use of state-of-the-art technology aiming to improve productivity at the airport.

JAL will perform the trial at Narita airport, ensuring safe conditions, as the area is congested with an array of airplanes, vehicles, and airport staff. Going forward, JAL will verify the equipment in various environments and continue to take on challenges to promote new services through technology.

Outline of Pilot Trial
Period: October 31, 2019 to March 31, 2020
Location: Narita International Airport Terminal 2 on vehicle roads and airplane parking areas near the satellite terminals
Vehicle used for the Trial: TractEasy by TLD
Remote Control System: Dispatcher by SB Drive Corporation