Aircraft taxiing at airports consume large amounts of fuel, emit tons of CO2, and create excessive noise.
The aviation industry demands alternative means to tow airplanes from gate to take-off with
engines stopped (dispatch towing).
All previous attempts at Dispatch Towing were unsuccessful due to two main reasons:
- Increased fatigue loads that shorten the aircraft Nose Landing Gear (NLG) life cycle; which is unacceptable for safety and economic reasons
- Aircraft not having a Pilot in Control (PIC) when towed by a normal tractor: which is unacceptable for safety, accountability and regulatory reasons
IAI developed with Airbus and TLD an innovative new towbarless towing device concept – the TaxiBot® (Taxiing Robot). TaxiBot® is a semi-autonomous system that enables airplane taxiing without engines running, controlled by the pilot and without shortening NLG life time.
- Pushback operation and procedures performed by the TaxiBot® operator
- Immediate taxiing after pushback eliminating bottlenecks in the gate area
- Taxiing with engines stopped. Engines start shortly before take-off with respect to required warm-up time
- Pilot is in control at all times (after Pushback) using airplane tiller and brake pedals (transparent to pilot as in regular taxiing)
- Taxiing at 23 knots, same as current airplane taxi speed
The TaxiBot® is a semi-robotic, pilot-controlled towing aircraft undercarriage system. The vehicle tows the aircraft close to the take off point – without running engines. This process will be steered by the pilot.
Main TaxiBot® advantages
- No modification to airplanes systems
- No extra weight and no reduction in cargo space
- Insignificant pilot training based on CBT – same cockpit controls and pilot feeling as normal taxiing
- Same concept for all NB and WB airplanes, same procedures
- The TaxiBot® is not using APU power to move the airplane, its carrying all required energy for the convoy (TaxiBot® & airplane)
- The TaxiBot® provide major safety improvements:
- Better traction and grip in contaminated taxiways (with Ice & snow)
- Better operator visual contact with airplane wing tips during pushback
- Intuitive maneuverability during pushback
- No A/C blast in the gate area
- Immediate taxi after pushback increases efficiency in the gate area
The TaxiBot® Operator
- The TaxiBot® is designed for one man operation
- In line steering provides excellent field of view of both wing tips during pushback, provides full over torque protection and immunity to Jackknife
- Compared with an aircraft taxiing using its jets engines, green taxiing will reduce emissions.
TaxiBot® is a semi-autonomous system that enables airplane taxiing without engines running, Controlled by the pilot and without shortening nose landing gear (NLG) life time.
A proprietary TaxiBot®-aircraft NLG interface mechanism provides pilot steering capability, using the airplane’s existing controls in the cockpit. Taxiing speed is controlled by the pilot using the airplane brakes.
The TaxiBot® system provides the pilot with the same handing characteristics as if taxiing with engines. Minor airside adjustments to airports infrastructure may be required.
The TaxiBot® system includes the following major elements
Unique NLG Interface clamping mechnism mounted on a “rotating turret” for:
- Load alleviation during pushback, acceleration and braking
- Transferring pilot tiller steering commands to the tug wheels via a steering control system
- No modification in airplane systems
- No need for APU replacement
- No added weight to the airplane and no reduction in cargo space
- Flight Deck Crew intuitive speed and steering controls
- Protection of the NLG from exceeding maximum allowed fatigue load at all times
- No change in NLG life time
- No utilization of aircraft resources for moving the airplane as the TaxiBot® uses its own power
- Pilot in control of TaxiBot® during taxiing using airplane controls
- Minimal pilot training required before operation (Computer Based Training)
- Increased traction and improved handling on wet or icy surfaces
- Major safety improvement in pushback & maintenance towing
TaxiBot® is available in two versions, for single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft
FOR SINGLE-AISLE AIRCRAFT:
- A320 Family
- B737 Series
FOR TWIN-AISLE AIRCRAFT:
- A330 Family
- A350 Family
- B777 Series
- B787 Series