GSE tracking system Smart Dolly: intelligent tracking system

An intelligent tracking system for airport ground equipment

It’s a predicament that every airport operator faces: hundreds, if not thousands, of dollies and other pieces of airport ground equipment are left scattered about in disorganised jumbles at today’s bustling airports. Tractor operators have no option but to hunt down the transport trailers they need – a lengthy process if only one dolly will do. 

Luckily, there’s another way. Blumenbecker has developed an intelligent tracking system for airport ground equipment in partnership with IFF, the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation in Magdeburg. 

Intelligent information transfer

The key to this new solution are radio sensors attached to the dollies. These GPS trackers transmit the exact real-time location and status of the dolly to a central control room – a kind of clearing house of information on all the transport trailers. 

The system knows exactly where each dolly is located, whether it’s parked or hitched to a tractor, and whether it’s loaded or empty. All this information is sent to tractor operators out on the tarmac who can then take the most direct route to the trailer they need. 

Unfortunately, GPS tracking systems are not reliable near large buildings. Communications are often interrupted altogether. That’s why the Smart Dolly solution also uses local tracking technology to determine a trailer’s position by measuring field intensity. That way, operators can reliably locate any dolly, even ones parked beside or inside a building. The system is augmented by LoRA, an energy-efficient wireless technology intended for IoT applications that provides wide reach and stable data transfer to the control room in real time. 

How does the Smart Dolly benefit airport operators and service providers?

The smart tracking system helps to add structure to airport logistics processes, which is immensely important as air traffic volumes continue to increase. Operators who cannot build new runways or terminals have no choice but to use the existing infrastructure as efficiently as possible. Smart dollies can help them.

There are maintenance benefits, too. Transmitted data can be used to generate operating profiles, determine its service history and identify the next maintenance date for the dolly. Targeted maintenance like this keeps equipment running smoothly and safely while reducing resource consumption. 

Not just for airports

The Blumenbecker tracking system can support industries other than airports, too.

Intelligent plastic pallets are a prime example. By tagging reusable pallets, companies can seamlessly track goods from production to the warehouse to the customer. The tracking technology can help optimise empties management as well.