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AViation: Autonomous Vehicle Solutions in an Airport Environment

At the 2018 Airports Consultants Council/American Association of Airport Executives (ACC/AAAE) Symposium, we asked plenary attendees to think about the state-of-the-art in autonomous vehicles (AV) and how that affects airports. 

AV adoption is on the verge of exploding. Within the next two to three years, we will see widespread adoption of Level 3 and Level 4 AV. At Level 3, vehicles can manage most aspects of driving, but will prompt the driver to intervene when it doesn’t know how to navigate a specific scenario. Level 4 vehicles can operate without human input under select conditions with high automation. 

This transition to AV will also change how travelers use and access the aviation environment — in particular, it will foster the continued expansion of ridesharing and ridesourcing services at airports. Within the next decade, we will begin to observe the adoption of fully automated Level 5 vehicles that can operate on any road and in any conditions a human driver could navigate. This will have a dramatic impact on landside access. Parking facilities will see reduced demand, while concierge services and access/egress to the terminal will become increasingly important considerations for airport operations.

There is much to consider when trying to future-proof an airport environment. 

This blog was used to supplement the Autonomous Airport plenary session, featuring Ben Pierce, at the 2018 ACC/AAAE Symposium.