Amsterdam Schiphol is to trial the use of self-driving buses on the airport’s apron this spring.

Royal Schiphol Group is partnering on the project with Dutch consultancy firm nlmtd, and TNW, a company which “connects companies, governments, investors and start-ups to foster innovation and accelerate sustainability and digital transformation”.

Jan Zekveld, head of innovation at Royal Schiphol Group, said that the airport needed to innovate in order to achieve its ambition of becoming the world’s most sustainable airport, adding that it was anticipated that daily operations on Schiphol’s apron “will have changed significantly by 2050”.

“Ground-based activities such as baggage transport, passenger transport and aircraft towing will not only be clean, but also smart and autonomous,” said Zekveld.

“We have already taken the first steps in this field with TNW and nlmtd. We will conduct a trial of self-driving buses on Schiphol’s apron this spring. That way, we can determine what follow-up steps are needed in the future.”

Meanwhile Arno Nijhof, director of TNW Programs, said that “Where many companies scale back their innovation efforts in difficult times, Schiphol sees innovation as a solution”.

“We can’t wait to find solutions in the market that enable autonomous transport or make work lighter for employees, and to collaborate with external innovators to improve air quality,” said Nijhof.

“Our goal is to help Schiphol become a more sustainable and future-proof organisation, and we are confident that this collaboration will contribute to that.”

Last month Schiphol announced a new partnership with technology firm Pangiam, to explore how artificial intelligence could be used to speed up the process of baggage security checks.

Amsterdam Schiphol to explore use of AI to speed up baggage screening