Autonomous mobility with ropeways
Autonomous mobility with ropeways

Imagine pulling up to a ski resort gondola and there not being an employee in sight as you load your skis and board, well its already happening in Europe and may be a worldwide standard in years to come. The first unmanned AURO ropeway by Doppelmayr started operation in December 2020 in Zermatt on the 10-seater Kumme gondola lift with two sections, the bottom and top stations are unmanned (an employee sits in the middle station and monitors everything that is happening). The second AURO ropeway was put in service for The Valisera lift in Austria. In this D-Line gondola the bottom and top stations manage without ropeway attendants, while in the middle station two employees have full control of the installation. Here’s a quick promo video to give you an understanding on how these systems work (read on about possible chairlift integration):

“Pioneering innovations are the hallmark of a successful enterprise. Innovations that provide the right answers to what moves people. One example is autonomous driving. This is an area where Doppelmayr is thinking ahead with the introduction of AURO (Autonomous Ropeway Operation). AURO ropeways bring passengers safely and reliably to their destinations in tourist regions or cities – with unmanned operations and cutting-edge digital network technology. This concept is pointing the way for the future of rope-propelled mobility.” -Doppelmayr

Autonomous mobility with ropeways:

AURO ropeways operate without station attendants. Equipped with state-of-the-art and networked technology, they bring passengers safely and reliably to their destination in tourist areas or in cities. Cameras and sensors ensure smooth operation and monitor the system – especially during boarding and disembarking. A ropeway operator keeps a constant eye on the ropeway in the control center, the Ropeway Operation Center (ROC). The perfect synergy of man and advanced technology ensures high availability of the ropeway. The concept is groundbreaking for the future of rope-drawn mobility.

Facts

  • Highest safety guaranteed by state-of-the-art safety equipment
  • Perfect overview in the ROC with the video system in the stations
  • High availability of the ropeway due to fast reaction and elimination of shutdowns
  • Increased boarding comfort thanks to additional car stabilization and adapted footboard geometry
  • AURO operating concept can be extended to several installations – only one ROC required

If gondolas and cablecars operating without staff sounds farfetched, imagine chairlifts with no employees at the top station. Doppelmayr is working on it, here is what they have to say:

AURO for chairlifts

The next evolutionary step: AURO enables chairlifts to operate without staff at the top station. AURO for chairlifts features AI-supported image processing that makes it possible to analyze and evaluate image and video data in real time and derive automatic actions. Operators can use AURO for chairlifts to operate the top stations of their installations autonomously. As with gondola lifts, AURO is also integrated into the Connect ropeway control system for chairlifts, so that different ropeway systems can be operated simultaneously in a shared Ropeway Operation Center (ROC). For ski resorts in particular, this makes it possible to deploy personnel in a targeted manner without compromising on safety and transport performance. For intelligent image recognition, Doppelmayr relies on the expertise of technology partner Mantis Ropeway Technologies.

Facts and benefits of AURO for chairlifts

  • Top station unmanned, operation from the ROC (e.g. bottom station)
  • Several AURO lifts can be operated in one ROC
  • The Connect control system enables a consistent operating concept
  • System learns from different situations and is constantly being developed further
  • High availability of the system
  • Up to 35 percent lower personnel costs
  • Mitigates the effects of staff shortages
  • Increased safety thanks to rapid response to hazardous situations
  • Good overview thanks to different camera viewing angles
  • No loss of attention: the system does not get tired
  • Can also be retrofitted to older existing systems

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