TaxiBot is a semi-autonomous vehicle that empowers plane maneuvering on the ground without its engines running, controlled by the pilot and without shortening the NLG life time.
A restrictive TaxiBot-aircraft NLG interface component gives pilot controlling ability, utilizing the plane’s current controls in the cockpit. Maneuvering speed is controlled by the pilot utilizing the A/C brakes.
The TaxiBot framework gives the pilot indistinguishable dealing with attributes from if navigating with engines. Much of the time no adjustment to airplane is required and minor if any changes to airports infrastructure are required.
In July 2018, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) had revealed that the TaxiBot tow-tractors – previously tested by Lufthansa in Frankfurt – were to be used for a “controlled trial” at Delhi and Mumbai airports until the end of 2018, in co-operation with Indian entity KSU.
IAI has now started a trial run of its semi-robotic TaxiBot tow-tractor at Delhi airport in co-operation with the Indian budget carrier SpiceJet. “The Indian government regards the TaxiBot as a significant means for addressing the grave air pollution issues in airports,” IAI says.
The manufacturer – which has developed the pilot-controlled vehicle in co-operation with French ground support equipment specialist TLD – says the tractor also gives additional benefits:
– reduces a jet’s fuel consumption by 85% while taxiing compared with standard operations with the aircraft’s main engines.
– lower noise and
– a reduced risk of engine damage through foreign object debris ingestion.
IAI says that SpiceJet used the tractor in commercial operations for the first time on 29 October, 2018 towing a departing Boeing 737 from its stand to the runway.
“Additional Indian airlines, including Jet Airways and IndiGo, are currently evaluating the TaxiBot for their operations as well,” says IAI.
The tractor has been certificated by the European Aviation Safety Agency and FAA for use with 737s and Airbus A320-family aircraft.
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Delhi air traffic control and the city’s airport operator are additional partners in the effort.
IAI said at the time that a second phase of the programme foresees delivery of 38 tractors over a four-year period to Delhi and Mumbai airports and “to the general Indian market”.