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IAI will be presenting at the upcoming AUS&R 2014 on November 25-26. IAI’sa TaxiBot project had recently been cleared by aviation authorities in Europe and Israel.
During their taxing phase, immediately prior to takeoff or right after landing, huge passenger or cargo jets use their engines to arrive from the terminal to the runway or vice versa. Sometimes, this distance could take half an hour to cover, as it may stretch for many miles.
As the jet taxis along the tarmac, its engines run on jet fuel, emit a great deal of highly polluting smoke, as well as general high levels of noise. All this can be easily avoided. On top of this, the jet’s pilots, who are busy following orders from the flight control tower, or execute final tests prior to takeoff, are dedicating precious attention to steering the aircraft along the runway. This additional task takes up attention span which could be otherwise used for their numerous duties.
Steering a giant jet in the midst of dense traffic on the tarmac, in a busy environment of an airport filled with numerous jets, various service trucks and at times, extreme weather conditions (ice and snow) as well, is a highly complex task. Sometime, high up in their cockpit, pilots cannot accomplish it faultlessly, whether because they are not familiar with the airport enough, or because they are too tired after the flight. Another reason could also be landing in fog, ice and or snow.
How do you combine flight safety (which begins on the ground) with fuel efficiency, reduction in noise and pollution, and allowing the pilots to retain full control during taxing? The answer is a huge semi-robotic, pilot-controlled towing tractor, made by IAI.
This robot, Taxibot, moves along the runways, communicates with the tower and the pilots and reports to them, connects to the aircraft it tows fully automatically and then disengages. All this is achieved through an onboard operating system manufactured by Wind River from Israel.
According to its developer, Taxibot, as it is called, has additional advantages: it integrates with all aircraft types (single or double axel), it is remotely controlled by the flight tower or the pilots, it does not add to the aircraft’s weight nor does it interrupt it, in any way. Taxibot can develop the same driving speed as the jet airplane, and its RoI (Return on Investment) is estimated at a mere 2-year period.
Ra’anana-based Wind River developed and a unique operating system and it integrated it, to enable complete command and control. The company also assisted in formulating Taxibot’s software specifications, certification and tailoring it to the operational environment per stringent airport standards.