Ground Handling

Aston University partners with Aurrigo to promote autonomous baggage handling for airports

Aurrigo set to gain new tools to enable a wider reach in the aviation market for their autonomous vehicles

Aston University has teamed up with international engineering and electronics company, Aurrigo, through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) which will support the company in marketing its innovative autonomous vehicle technologies to airports around the world.

A KTP is a three-way collaboration between a business, an academic partner and a highly qualified researcher, known as a KTP associate.

The UK-wide programme helps businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills.

Aston University is a sector leading KTP provider, with 80% of its completed projects being graded as very good or outstanding by Innovate UK, the national body.

Aurrigo is one of the first companies to develop autonomous baggage handling systems and vehicles for use in airports, and has successfully piloted the vehicles at Changi Airport in Singapore.

This puts Aurrigo in a unique position to partner with other airports worldwide to provide transformational technology that can enhance efficiency, save time and money and reduce emissions.

To achieve this, Aurrigo needs to differentiate and segment potential customers and develop bespoke approaches, creating a value proposition that can overcome potential resistance to new technology.

The company will also need to design an economic model to help communicate the financial benefits of the initial investment for customers in the technology.

This will require expertise in operational management, technology acceptance and international strategic marketing.

Leading the KTP from Aston University will be Associate Professor in Marketing and Strategy at Aston Business School, Dr Geoff Parkes.

Dr Parkes has a background as a marketing practitioner, having worked as Sales and Marketing Director at Aga Cookers and Armitage Shanks.

He will be joined by Lecturer in Operations Management and Systems Thinking, Dr Krishna Balthu, an expert in organisational structures and processes, and Dr Arezoo Fakhimi, Lecturer in Marketing and Strategy, who brings expertise in technology acceptance.

The first stage of the project will involve a sales and marketing review, to examine the current customer journey and analyse demand creation different business to business (B2B) buyer behaviour.

This will be followed by an analysis of reactive and proactive B2B advertising techniques, incorporating research from B2B customer behaviour, international marketing and entrepreneurship to identify key areas for improvement including potential use of virtual reality to market Aurrigo’s products.

The team will also develop a decision support tool that can use data on potential markets and customers, to identify where best to allocate resources.

This tool will help the sales and marketing team at Aurrigo to develop bespoke product packages for each individual customer.

Miles Garner, Sales and Marketing Director at Aurrigo said: “As one of the first companies to develop autonomous vehicles for aviation, we’re carving out a whole technological niche which currently doesn’t exist.

“There’s currently no blueprint for how to develop the sales and marketing processes to bring new customers on board with this kind of technology.

“The KTP with Aston University will help to develop that blueprint and so give us a competitive advantage over others seeking to enter this sector.”

Dr Geoff Parkes, Associate Professor in Marketing and Strategy at Aston Business School, said: “Our role is to help Aurrigo develop what is called a ‘service concept’, which is a shared understanding within the company about the products they are selling and their value proposition, so that comes across very clearly to their customers.

“Once Aurrigo has that in place, we can leave the job of sales to the company itself.”