Ann Arbor, Michigan. August 14, 2023 — Amidst a rising concern of collisions between manually operated cargo vehicles and aircraft or other vehicles at airports all over the world, Ann Arbor-based Cybernet emerges as a pioneering force committed to injecting advanced automation technology and safety systems into tugs, forklifts, and material handlers.

Cybernet’s transformative vision aims to revolutionize airport operations, ensuring increased safety, enhanced efficiency, and heightened economic activity. On Aug. 24 at the American Center for Mobility (AMC), with funding support from Michigan Economic Development Commission (MEDC), Cybernet and their partners, Fortbrand Services, LLC., Detroit Region Aerotropolis Development Coalition, and Toyota Tsusho America, Inc., will demonstrate how future airports will be safer and more productive using autonomous technology they have already perfected.

“As airports grapple with the repercussions of frequent collisions, the imperative for improved safety measures becomes ever more pressing,” said Charles J. Cohen, Ph.D., Cybernet’s chief technology officer. “Cybernet’s mission is to bridge this critical gap by introducing state-of-the-art automation technology and cutting-edge safety systems with the integration of our autonomous material handling technology (AMHT).”

Cohen said by integrating autonomous solutions into the daily operations of ground support equipment (GSE), forklifts, and other machinery used in airports, airports will operate at peak utilization while prioritizing the safety of personnel, cargo, and aircraft.

Cybernet has achieved great success with its AMHT in both the military and commercial communities, using the kits for driver assist, full autonomy and smart driver assist.

According to Cohen, traditional GSE collisions with aircraft have been a persistent issue, resulting in significant flight delays and exorbitant recovery costs that can range from $10,000 to over $100,000 per incident. Such disruptions occur frequently, causing extensive inconveniences for both airlines and passengers.

Leveraging proven innovations, the introduction of Cybernet’s advanced automation technology heralds a new era for airport safety, where accidents and collisions are dramatically reduced. By removing the human element from critical operations and relying on precision-guided automation, the risk of errors and mishaps is significantly mitigated, fostering a secure environment for all stakeholders.

While the outcome of this demonstration has national, even worldwide implications, it cannot be underscored how Michigan’s rich automotive history and its commitment to autonomous vehicles are helping to shape the future of airport safety.

“Our collaboration with Cybernet and these other partners showcases our commitment to driving growth and safety in the aviation industry and I am thrilled to witness the convergence of innovation and economic development in this groundbreaking demonstration,” said Christopher Girdwood, CEO, Detroit Region Aerotropolis Development Coalition. “This event exemplifies our vision of leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance airport operations and create a safer, more efficient future. We are proud to be at the forefront of regional progress, unlocking the potential of the Detroit region and paving the way for transformative advancements here and all over the nation.”

Cohen noted the benefits extend far beyond safety alone. “Cybernet’s innovative solutions enhance airport utilization, streamline workflows, and optimize cargo handling processes, and these efficiencies translate into tangible economic gains, attracting more customers, bolstering cargo throughput, and fostering increased economic activity within the airport ecosystem.”

A partner with Cybernet, Fortbrand is a leading provider of GSE solutions. “Cybernet is a pioneer in advanced automation technology and brings forth a range of significant benefits for the aviation industry,” said Juan Aguirre, Fortbrand’s vice president of technology. “By integrating Cybernet’s cutting-edge autonomous technology into our GSE offerings, our partnership enhances safety, efficiency, and operational reliability at our airports where our customers operate. It’s a powerful synergy!”

Autonomous vehicles reduce human error, the leading cause of accidents and incidents in aviation. With advanced sensors systems equipped on autonomous tugs, obstacles and aircraft in the path can be detected for collision avoidance. The same sensors and cameras provide improved visibility and awareness, offering a broader field of view than a human operator. And because autonomous vehicles follow pre-defined algorithms and protocols, there are more consistent and predictable operations.

Crucial research and testing like this demonstration ensure a safe and effective implementation and a successful collaboration between aviation authorities, manufacturers, and industry stakeholders. By prioritizing safety, optimizing operations, and igniting economic growth, Cybernet’s visionary approach unlocks the potential for enhanced airport utilization, thriving businesses, and a safer future for all.

Together these companies are embarking on a transformative journey, where the infusion of advanced automation technology paves the way for safer skies, heightened economic activity, and a vibrant future in the realm of airport operations.

For more information or to attend demonstration, please contact Charles J. Cohen, Ph.D. at

About MEDC.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy.

About ACM.

ACM offers a one-of-a-kind global development center to transform the way industries advance safe, sustainable, and secure mobility technologies. Located in Southeast Michigan on over 500-acres at the historic Willow Run site in Ypsilanti, ACM offers an advanced mobility proving ground with test environments featuring specialized infrastructure, equipment, facilities and resources; an innovation and technology campus with an industrial tech park for the co-location of mobility companies; and event and demonstration areas for showcasing mobility technologies and convening industry activities.

About Fortbrand Services, LLC.

Fortbrand Services LLC is a leading provider of ground support and airfield maintenance equipment to the global aviation industry. For over three decades, Fortbrand has met the needs of airlines, airport operators, fixed-base operators, and ground handling companies, serving as a single source solution for equipment needs. Fortbrand Services specializes in sales, leasing, and short-term rentals. Fortbrand is based in Plainview, N.Y.


About Toyota Tsusho America, Inc.

For more than 60 years in the U.S., Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. (“TAI”), and its subsidiaries and affiliates, have created value through its creative, can-do approach to solving business and societal challenges. Leaders in exporting and importing, supply chain management, new manufacturing, intermediate goods processing, and logistics in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, TAI’s North American team of more than 7,000 are proven experts in making it happen. Learn more by visiting

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