An autonomous evoBot robot developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML is undergoing its first practical test in the cargo terminal and on the apron at Munich Airport (MUC) to improve air freight operations.

The dynamically stable evoBOT features two wheels and flexible gripper arms to perform tasks such as handling hazardous goods, transporting parcels over long, recurring distances, relieving employees during lifting and overhead work, procuring materials and providing support during the loading and unloading of aircraft.

evoBOT® at Munich Airport
evoBOT® at Munich Airport

The robot can travel at speeds of up to 60km/h and transport a load of up to 100kg. It has been designed to operate alone or with others in both indoor and outdoor areas.

A video of it in action at Munich Airport can be viewed here.

Jost Lammers, Chief Executive Officer of Munich Airport said:

The development and expansion of the cargo and logistics sector are essential components of our corporate strategy. We welcome every initiative to optimise and digitalise handling processes. The evoBOT will facilitate the day-to-day work of our employees in the cargo area and make the workplace more attractive.

This technology is being tested as part of the Digital Testbed Air Cargo (DTAC) programme, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV).

The programme aims to respond to challenges in the air freight industry by advancing digitalisation and autonomous technologies to overcome a shortage of skilled workers.

Professor Michael ten Hompel, Managing Director of Fraunhofer IML said:

Our evoBOT is the beginning of a new population of autonomous vehicles and robots. With its arms and the fact that it moves on two wheels, it represents a step on the path to the humanoid future of robotics. The practical test carried out at Munich Airport impressively underpins the potential of this development. The evoBOT can work as a fellow colleague in a wide range of applications.

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