A statement by IAI says that its Taxibot Dispatch system has the potential to shrink the annual fuel consumption cost for the airline industry from $8 billion to as low as $2 billion and reduce the annual carbon emissions by about 25 percent over the next two years. Designed by IAI, the pilot-controlled towing semi-robotic Taxibot Dispatch Towing system permits both wide and narrow body commercial airplanes to taxi to and from the gate and the runway without the use of their jet engines. Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) and European airline builder Airbus signed a memorandum of understanding at the 2009 International Paris Air Show to develop an environment-friendly aircraft towing system in collaboration. The towing system is being tested on Airbus A340-600 planes in Toulouse for various aspects like performance, profit-making and safety. Currently powered by 2 diesel engines, the Taxibot system has 6 hydraulic motors having one in all its wheels. The Taxibot is expected be available in the market by the third quarter of 2011.
The Towing system a boon to the environment
The Taxibot Dispatch Towing system will prove to be a boon, benefiting the airline industry enormously. The system will help airlines save money and slash carbon emissions immensely. EADS Airbuses claim that the estimated cost corresponding to the annual fuel consumption is expected to reduce from $8 billion to $2 billion, while decreasing the annual carbon emissions from 18 million tones to less than 2 million tones per year. This robotic tractor is used to taxi airplanes without having to use their jet engines and is safer for the ground vehicle drivers as the plane is completely controlled by the pilot. According to IAI, the system will result in reducing fuel consumption, noise, and toxic gas emissions by jet engines. The Taxibot Dispatch Towing system will play its role efficiently towards improving the environment.
Hurdles in its way
A research performed by the US Department of Transportation predicted that despite noise level improvements in next-generation airplanes, the number of people forced to deal with serious aircraft noise will rise from 24 million in 2000 to 30.3 million by 2025.
Though capable of towing almost all military aircraft, but several problems stand in the way. One is the fact that military deals with real time situations so safety and logistics issues involved can be severe. Another issue that acts as an obstacle is the market size. Despite IAI’s strong military background, the firm has no plans to market the Taxibot solution for military applications, as the commercial mainliner market will prove to be better profit savers.