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AUTONOM TRACT AT135 in use at Toulouse airport

On 04 December, Air France announced the commissioning of an autonomous vehicle created by Charlatte Manutention, a Fayat Road Equipment division, and its partner NAVYA, at Toulouse-Blagnac airport.

A long-term partnership

In October 2018, Charlatte Manutention, a Fayat Road Equipment division subsidiary, and NAVYA, a leading French autonomous driving systems manufacturer, created Charlatte Autonom to develop autonomous tractor solutions for industrial and airport sites.

With this partnership with NAVYA, Charlatte Manutention is building the future of the business line in which it is a global leader, electric baggage tractors. We are very enthusiastic about this development of cutting-edge technological solutions with a partner that also offers innovative products and services. It fits perfectly into the Fayat group’s innovation culture and strategy, creating value with and for our clients and offering them unique benefits
Jean Claude Fayat, Fayat Group Chairman & CEO

For the record, NAVYA is a leading French autonomous vehicle manufacturer and smart & shared mobility solution provider.

With more than 200 staff in France (Paris and Lyon) and the US (Michigan), NAVYA designs, manufactures and markets a range of driverless, electric, autonomous vehicles, combining cutting-edge robotic, digital and automotive technologies.

Charlatte Manutention is a Fayat Group subsidiary. It’s the world’s leading electric baggage tractor manufacturer. With 140 staff in France and the US, Charlatte Manutention generated €65 million in sales revenue in 2018.

A smart electric tractor

To do its job and avoid disrupting runway traffic, the vehicle is equipped with smart systems and sensors to recognise its environment, very accurately determine its position, detect obstacles (360°), and make decisions. With its sensors (lidars, cameras, GPS, odometer) and autonomous driving software, the vehicle can move around the airport on its own. AUTONOM TRACT also communicates with airport traffic lights.

Navette autonome

the 100% autonomous luggage tractor

If the tractor moves around autonomously, it must stop, for regulatory reasons, as it approaches the entrance to the “aircraft zone”. The operative onboard takes back control in manual mode to dock with the aircraft and deliver the baggage. The autonomous tractor then heads back to the baggage sorting area.

Once the passenger baggage has reached the sorting area, the first autonomous baggage tractor does the following:

  • An operative from 3S Group, an Air France sub-contractor, places this baggage in the containers hitched behind the autonomous tractor.
  • The baggage tractor then autonomously and smartly drives to the Air France aircraft. The destination is first entered by a 3S Group operative via a touch screen.
  • As it approaches the aircraft, the tractor stops and the operative takes back control from the autonomous driving system, then loads the baggage into the aircraft hold.
  • The vehicle follows the same route in the opposite direction to return to the baggage sorting area.

The autonomous and electric baggage tractor has been operational since 15 November on the runways at Toulouse-Blagnac airport and was able to operate driverless following the granting of specific permits.

For increased safety

The experiment with this AT135 baggage tractor developed by the subsidiary created by Charlatte Manutention and NAVYA: CHARLATTE AUTONOM, is the result of close collaboration between several leading experts in the air transport industry, who joined forces to imagine the airport of tomorrow

The tractor’s everyday maintenance is managed by TCR. The autonomous vehicle is supervised by 3S Group operatives who specialise in the operational processes. Air France also provides support and expertise in collaboration with Toulouse-Blagnac airport, by including their operations and infrastructure in the experiment.

World first: an autonomous luggage vehicle tested in real conditions

We are very proud of this first global-scale commissioning, which confirms the added value of our AT135 autonomous tractor, combining the expertise of both Charlatte Manutention and NAVYA, in real-life conditions. The larger-scale deployment of autonomous vehicles should enable decongestion of ever-denser logistical flows


The autonomous baggage tractor was also a winner at the second edition of the Fayat Innovation Challenge prize-giving ceremony, in the Equipment & Tools category.

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