A commercial SpiceJet flight took off from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi using a semi-robotic, pilot-controlled towing tractor developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, known as TaxiBot, for the first time on Monday, the Israeli firm said on Thursday.
Additional Indian airlines including Jet Airways and Indigo Airlines are currently evaluating the TaxiBot for their operations as well, IAI said in a statement.
The TaxiBot, developed by IAI and its French partner TLD Group, is a semi-robotic vehicle that connects to the aircraft and is controlled by the pilots, enabling them to taxi from the airport’s jet bridge — the sleeve — to the runway without using the aircraft’s main jet engines.
This saves 85 percent of the fuel consumed during standard taxiing of the aircraft, and provides a similar reduction of 85% of the greenhouse gases emitted by the main engines, the statement said.
Taxiing with the TaxiBot also reduces noise levels by 60%, IAI said, and cuts back by 50% on the amount of foreign objects that can be sucked into the aircraft engines, as they are not running.
“The Indian government regards the TaxiBot as a significant means for addressing the grave air pollution issues in airports, which are exacerbating due to the continued growth of air transportation,” the statement said.
“This is a significant milestone in the development of the TaxiBot program,” said Benjamin Cohen, IAI VP and general manager of IAI’s Lahav Division, in the statement.
Maya Kadosh, charge d’Affairs at the Israeli embassy in India, said the introduction of the TaxiBots at the Delhi airport is another example of the India-Israel technological partnership.
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