In Munich, on Oct. 7, 2009, TLD and IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) sealed their exclusive risk sharing MOA for the development and manufacturing of the TaxiBot Tractors by signing their formal document.
TaxiBot is a dispatch tow tractor concept developed and patented by IAI.
The dispatch towing (or operational towing) process consists of moving aircraft from the gate to the runway with towing tractors instead of taxiing by using the jet engines of the aircraft.
The implementation of this technology offers yearly potential savings for the aviation industry of $7 billion USD and would reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 18 millions tons. This program perfectly fits within the TLD innovation strategy focused on developing equipment for more environmentally friendly airport operations.
Three of the major innovations that TaxiBot offers are:
- The pilot (captain) will remain in Command (PIC) at all times along the taxiing process, by means of a user friendly pilot – TaxiBot interface (transparent to the pilot)
- The stress on the nose landing gear (NLG) will be dramatically reduced by the Pilot braking by the main landing gear system (as opposed to tractor braking) and the tractor applying a unidirectional stress on the NLG thus reducing considerably the NLG fatigue
- The TaxiBot tractor will be certified through STC (Supplement Type Certificate) as though the tractor were a component of the aircraft
Airbus has also recently joined the TaxiBot program as an active partner as well as Lufthansa LEOS that has been a long time supporter of the project.
The TaxiBot demonstrator is currently doing tests with a fully computerized trailer in the UK. The first operational test on real aircraft with the demonstrator is planned for February 2010 in Toulouse at the Airbus factory and IAI & TLD expect to have a TaxiBot prototype ready by the end of 2010.