New Delhi and Mumbai airports will soon get environmentally friendly TaxiBots to help reduce carbon emissions. These semi-robotic vehicles will tow the aircraft from the airport gate to take-off point, thus eliminating the use of airplane engines during taxiing, significantly reducing aircraft fuel usage and the risk of foreign object damage.

These TaxiBots, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), are semi-robotic vehicles that connect to the aircraft and will be controlled by the pilot to taxi the airplane from the airport’s aerobridge or bay to the runway without using the aircraft jet engines. IAI announced this at the 2018 Farnborough Airshow and said it had entered into an agreement with Gurugram-based KSU Aviation for the same.

“The use of TaxiBot at Indian airports in the next five years will bring about a saving of $1.5 billion to Indian carriers and reduce environmental damage of greenhouse gases by four million tons,” Yogesh Sethi of KSU Aviation said.

The contract — to be executed in two phases — will consist of controlled trials at the two airports through 2018. The second phase includes delivery of 38 additional vehicles within four years to the two airports. The final tests of the vehicles made for Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) New Delhi, are presently being carried out at Frankfurt Airport in Germany.

Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) recently got a three-year extension of Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) ‘Level 3+ Neutrality’ certification for its efforts towards reducing the carbon footprint.

According to IAI, a TaxiBot would save 85% of the fuel consumed during standard taxi and provides a similar reduction of greenhouse gases emitted by the aircraft main engines. The Taxibot also claims a reduction in noise levels by 60% and foreign object damage (FOD) by 50%.

“We believe this agreement will open the path for many more significant contracts for this product worldwide,” said Shaul Shahar, IAI executive vice-president and general manager of IAI’s Military Aircraft Group.

As per IAI, the system does not require any modification in airplane systems, APU replacement, added weight, or cargo space.

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