Yeti Move’s cloud-based software automates snow clearing operations at airports, reducing emissions while increasing profitability. “Our vision is to provide autonomous solutions for a sustainable future. We truly believe we are pioneers within the world of autonomy,” says John Emil Halden, COO of Yeti Move.
Snowfall can cause a big headache for airports. If not cleared properly, poor runway conditions will affect the take-off and braking capabilities of aircraft. During a storm, flights may be cancelled, disrupting air traffic throughout an entire region.
In many regions, airports struggle to recruit snowplough drivers due to a labour shortage, and workers must deal with harsh conditions, sometimes at night. In addition, many airports lack the proper planning and trained personnel to handle a major snowstorm.
To solve these challenges, airports are looking towards automation to improve their snow removal operations.
The Yeti Autonomy Service Platform (YASP) is a control system that can be used for autonomous snow clearing operations at airports. Using cloud-based software, YASP connects all vehicles, such as snowploughs, sweepers and blowers, in a single system, ensuring that they know where to go and what to do on the runway.
“YASP gives airports consistent snow clearing every time. We ensure that the vehicles have the same driving pattern to increase efficiency. Then we can use artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation programs to make the results even better,” says Halden.
Yeti Move also works with customers to devise operational plans, which is necessary both for the customer and for airport authorities. “Snow clearing on airport runways is a complex task. Flights are still coming in and you have to wait for passing planes. Planning and operational control is essential to accomplish the task safely and efficiently,” says Halden.
By optimising snow clearance, YASP lowers the overall cost of operations. In addition, the new self-driving vehicles have a higher capacity and greater clearing range than conventional equipment. This makes it possible to reduce the total number of vehicles, thereby reducing equipment costs.
Optimisation offers environmental benefits as well. Halden explains:
“YASP ultimately cuts fuel consumption and emissions. Our solution optimises power use by ensuring operations are consistent at all times. Also, well-planned operations with autonomous vehicles will reduce the driving needed to complete the job, and fewer vehicles are needed overall. The vehicles still run on fossil fuel, but we anticipate greater use of biofuel and even clean hydrogen fuel cells in the future.”
Moreover, YASP helps to solve airports’ personnel challenges. Most importantly, far fewer workers need to be involved in strenuous snow clearing activities.
“Conventional snow clearing requires up to eight persons and eight vehicles driving in formation, but with YASP only two persons are needed, one inside the first vehicle and one in a command car. This means airports can lower their personnel and recruitment costs and improve the working environment for current employees,” says Halden.
Europe has over 500 commercial airports through which 215 million passengers travelled in 2019. Many airports that get snow, both in Europe and other regions, have not fully automated their snow clearing operations, creating a huge untapped market for solutions such as YASP.
Yeti Move is moving quickly into other markets as well. “Sixty per cent of our core software is applicable to other industries, so we are adapting YASP for use in port logistics, construction and industry. Airports are just the beginning of something much bigger,” says Halden.
Several major Nordic companies are behind Yeti Move, including Husqvarna, Semcon and Øveraasen. Yeti Move has secured one of the world’s largest autonomy contracts with the Swedish airport operator Swedavia, and will soon also be at Oslo Airport Gardermoen.
“Yeti Move is growing exponentially. Last year we had two employees and now we have 25. We are a small company achieving great things,” says Halden.
Control system for automated snow clearing at airports
Cloud-based software connects all autonomous vehicles and other assets
Reduces emissions, lowers costs, increases sustainability of airports