Delhi IGI Airport: In a bid to control air pollution and to help airlines save fuel, Delhi’s IGI airport operator is all set to buy TaxiBots, which are pilot-controlled semi-robotic machines. The TaxiBot will pull the aircraft from parking bays to the runway with the engines switched off, according to an HT report. Moreover, only when the aircraft reaches the runway starting point, the ignition will be turned on for the take-off. The airport operator said that these bots will be only used for departing flights. According to DIAL (Delhi International Airport Limited) officials, during certification trials, the cost of fuel used during taxiing by the bots was brought down by 85 per cent.
An officer was quoted in the report stating that a Taxibot will be driven to an aircraft stationed at the apron area, which is preparing to take off. Then the plane and the Taxibot will be attached. The Taxibot will hold the aircraft’s nose wheel and will lift it slightly. Following this, the plane’s pilot will transport the aircraft from the terminal gate to the runway without switching the aircraft’s engine on. To enable warm-ups and technical checks, the engine will be turned on only a short while before the take-off, the official added.
Currently, the engines are switched on after passenger boarding is over and remains on while taxiing till the time the aircraft reaches its designated runway. The report claimed that the TaxiBot can attain a maximum speed of 23 knots. The officer claimed that by using the bots, the airport will benefit in many ways such as congestion at boarding gates will reduce, carbon dioxide emission along with other noxious gases will reduce and also the risk of jet blast incidents at the apron area will reduce. Further to this, the officer also claimed that the airlines will save fuel and reduce damage to a plane’s brakes.
According to a DIAL spokesperson, the initiative will significantly improve the quality of air at the airport and nearby areas. Additionally, it will help in reducing noise pollution as well as fuel consumption.
In the month of September, a three-month trial of the TaxiBots will start in association with KSU Aviation Pvt Ltd, which will hand over the TaxiBots to DIAL. The report also mentioned that the TaxiBots have been manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)