“AirAsia India on October 5 announced the implementation of an Alternate Taxiing Solution – ‘TaxiBot’, which, the company said, will be “driving sustainability and optimising efficiency in aviation operations”.
The carrier has tied up with KSU Aviation, the exclusive operator of the TaxiBot in India.
Notably, Taxibot is a semi-robotic towbarless aircraft movement device developed by Israel Aerospace Industries. It can tow an aircraft from the terminal gate to the take-off point (taxi-out phase) and return it to the gate after landing (taxi-in phase) without utilising the aircraft engines.
“Taxibot significantly reduces aircraft fuel usage, emissions and noise levels at airports, and the risk of foreign object and jet blast damage, and operates with a hybrid-electric engine,” the airline said in a press release.
AirAsia India is the first Airbus operator in the world to start TaxiBot services with passengers onboard with a modified Airbus fleet.
“This landmark announcement is in keeping with AirAsia India’s sustainability strategy, after a series of enhancements since successful process evaluation trials in March 2019,” the aviation company said.
TaxiBot is proclaimed as the “green revolution in airplane taxiing”, helping enhance fuel efficiency and predictive maintenance and services, it added.
The aircraft engineering modifications were done by Air India’s best-in-class engineering team and required routing more than 50 new wires inside the aircraft, installation of relays in the Avionics Bay and a control panel in the cockpit, and a series of operational tests prior to certification.”
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Forward thinking Changi Airport, Singapore is another airport that has been exploring the way in which technology can be used to streamline daily operations in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.
The airport has recently embarked on proof of technology trial with the Smart Airport Systems (SAS) TractEasy, autonomous baggage tractor, in their Terminal 3 location.
Airside workers engage in numerous tasks as part of airside operations including the transportation of passenger baggage between the aircraft and BHA. Subsequently, baggage tractors constitute the largest fleet of airside vehicles. The automation of these tractors would free up valuable staff to carry out more skilled airport duties requiring human interaction.
Working very closely with the Changi airport, SAS refined the TractEasy solution to meet the specific requirements of the airside operations and to facilitate a smooth integration.
The trial initially commenced in May 2020 with non-airside selected routes, however next month will see TractEasy servicing its first live aircraft as it continues its journey in reducing airside emissions, improving operational efficiencies and most importantly…paving the way for a greener aviation industry.
Smart Airport Systems is pleased to announce that TractEasy, our electric powered autonomous baggage tractor, has been awarded the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label.
The driverless TractEasy facilitates the airside transportation of luggage from terminal to aircraft to terminal in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.
Multiple sensors allow the TractEasy to constantly monitor its immediate environment ensuring complete safety through its pre-determined route – even navigating through heavy ramp traffic.
TractEasy reduces polluting emissions, operating cost and traffic congestion while increasing also airport efficiency.
The Efficient Solution Label is awarded once a solution has satisfied the eligiability criteria and been validated by an external board of experts on a number of categories.More information can be found here – https://solarimpulse.com/label#1000Solutions#smartairportsystems#GreenAviation
The doors have opened for day 1 of The Airport Show being held this year at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
We are exhibiting on booth 8210 alongside sister companies – TLD and AERO Specialties to offer a comprehensive 360 degree GSE experience including our latest smart aviation and environmentally considerate ramp solutions.
We look forward seeing you on the booth!
Delhi Airport has logged 1,000 TaxiBot movements since their deployment about two years ago, which has helped airlines save 2.14 lakh litres of jet fuel besides reducing around 532 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide emissions, the private airport operator said on Thursday. Taxibot is a semi-robotic aircraft undercarriage system that can tow an aircraft from a terminal gate to the take-off point and return it to the gate after landing. It aids in reducing fuel cost, improves apron usage, and reduces harmful gases.
Delhi Airport is the only airport in the world to adopt this green taxiing solution in May 2019, as a part of Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) strategic initiatives to reduce carbon emissions by planes, and also to become a ”net-zero carbon emission airport” by 2030, DIAL said in a release.
At present, two TaxiBots are operational, with three airlines, with overall 15 such equipment expected to be operational over a period of four years, it said.
”Delhi Airport has completed 1,000 movements of sustainable taxing of aircraft with TaxiBot, and thus helped the airport in significantly reducing carbon emission and saving fuel. ”The use of TaxiBot’s have helped in reducing around 532 tonnes of Carbon as well as in saving around 214,000 litres of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), which was supposed to be burned by the aircraft during taxiing, DIAL said.
”This is a major milestone not only for DIAL but also for the aviation sector globally, in terms of promoting and adopting alternative and green taxiing solutions,” said Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, Chief Executive Officer at DIAL.
The use of TaxiBot has also helped in significantly reducing the risk of foreign object debris (FOD) damage to the aircraft during its ground movement and taxiing noise at the airport, DIAL said, adding, it is resourceful to ATC as the equipment offers a faster apron clearance and assist airlines in reducing turnaround time for its ground operations.
PRESS RELEASE FROM ROYAL SCHIPHOL GROUP
Royal Schiphol Group wants to create the world’s most sustainable airports. To get there, one of our goals is an emission-free Schiphol in 2030. We are working hard to fulfil our ambition. This includes making our ground operation more sustainable and we expect sustainable taxiing to contribute to this.
Aircraft currently taxi to the runway using their engines. In doing so, they produce CO2, NOx and ultrafine particle emissions. During sustainable taxiing, planes do not use their engines to get
to and from the runway, instead they use an alternative power source such as the TaxiBot. This saves kerosene and therefore leads to lower emissions. Sustainable taxiing can therefore contribute to reducing CO2 and nitrogen.
Schiphol and its partners have carried out a Taxi- Bot pilot and a feasibility study into sustainable taxiing at the airport.
What did we investigate?
We looked at whether implementing fully sustai- nable taxiing at Schiphol airport would be possible. The primary focus was on the effects of sustainable taxiing on safety, capacity, efficiency at the airport and the environmental benefits. The study compri- sed an operational pilot carried out at Schiphol last year, a simulation of an airport operation based on sustainable taxiing and consultations with operatio- nal experts.
Who did we conduct the research with?
Schiphol collaborated with Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL), KLM, Transavia, Coren- don Dutch Airlines and ground handling compa- nies dnata and KLM Ground Services. The rese- arch is part of the Smart and Sustainable action plan and the government’s plan for sustainable aviation (Klimaattafel Duurzame Luchtvaart).
What were the most significant findings?
The results revealed that sustainable taxiing uses at least 50% less fuel than standard taxiing and therefore significantly lowers emissions, both CO2 and noise emissions. Some substantial adjustments to infrastructure, processes and technology will need to be made if sustainable taxiing is to become standard procedure at Schiphol by 2030.
What are the adjustments that need to be made to infrastructure?
In order to implement sustainable taxiing as standard procedure at Schiphol by 2030, a num- ber of changes will need to be made, including to infrastructure. This will involve modifying the platform and taxiways so that a unique semi-ro- botic aircraft towing vehicle can be decoupled from the aircraft safely and efficiently. The taxiways will also have to be adjusted so that the TaxiBot can move everywhere, and so will the aircraft stand so that the TaxiBot can safely park the plane at the gate.
What are the adjustments that need to be made to processes?
Many different airport partners are involved
in sustainable taxiing. The handling agent is responsible for operating the TaxiBot before it has been attached to an airplane, the pilot is responsible for operating the TaxiBot while it is attached to the airplane and LVNL is responsible for the successful management of ground traffic.
The roles of the parties involved are constantly changing, which makes the implementation
of sustainable taxiing as standard procedure
a complex process. It also means more traffic movements because a TaxiBot has to drive to and from the runways. New working arrange- ments, protocols and guidelines are required to manage this effectively.
We will also have to ensure that ground hand- ling company staff are trained to operate the TaxiBot, and pilots will have to receive extra computer training (even those working for foreign airlines who do not often come to Schiphol).
What are the adjustments that need to be made to technology?
The TaxiBot is a unique Smart Airport Systems vehicle; there are only a small number of them in the world. This means that the TaxiBot also still needs to be developed further.
The TaxiBot is certified for the most common narrow-body types of aircraft (Boeing 737 and Airbus A320), which together account for 54 percent of air traffic to and from Schiphol. It is not yet ready and certified for other types of aircraft. A widebody version is due in 2023.
Although the TaxiBot is today not fully emission free as it is powered by diesel-electric driveline, it does represent a substantial reduction of the carbon footprint of airport operations on its own. Smart Airport Systems is currently designing a full electrical unit, including technical improvements to make the TaxiBot more reliable.
Why can sustainable taxiing only be implemented on a large scale in 2030?
Almost all aircraft will need to be towed when sustainable taxiing is a standard procedure. Sig- nificant adjustments to infrastructure, processes and technology are therefore required (and at a complex location). The aviation sector has high safety standards; the certification of technolo- gies and approval of processes are extremely important and carried out carefully.
Because many of the necessary adjustments are new to aviation, and because Schiphol is the first airport in Europe that wants to introduce sus- tainable taxiing on a large scale, a lot of time is required to develop the technology and to have it certified and approved.
On a smaller scale, sustainable taxiing can contribute to the reduction of emissions at the locations it will have the biggest impact within just a few years. This could be at the Polderbaan Runway, for example. It has the longest taxi time and, together with the Kaagbaan Runway, is deployed most frequently.
What are other airports doing?
There are currently only a small number of TaxiBots in the world. The TaxiBot has grabbed the attention of many large airports and it appears to be a question of time before it is tested and implemented at other airports too.
Some TaxiBots are being deployed in the operation in India since a few years – in Delhi and in Bangalore. We are keenly following those developments, especially those in Delhi seeing as the airport is comparable to Schiphol in terms of size, activity and complexity.
What are the next steps?
We and the airport partners are going to iden- tify the necessary adjustments and solutions in a roadmap to establish sustainable taxiing as standard procedure at Schiphol by 2030. This roadmap will be ready in the spring of 2021.
We will also start a follow-up pilot – part of a Eu- ropean programme that will see several Taxibots coming to Schiphol – no later than at the start of 2022. The preparations for that are underway.
Further news on TaxiBot & Schiphol Sustainable Taxiing is available here – https://news.schiphol.com/sustainable-taxiing-uses-half-the-fuel-of-standard-taxi-process/
The Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) has announced on March 2nd that for the first time in Japan, Autonomous baggage tractors for real operations at Narita will be introduced. JAL will used this vehicle following a POC led in cooperation with Narita International Airport (NAA), airport authority that operates Narita.
This initiative is to address the concerning issue of lack of manpower due to growing demand in air transportation.The introduction will take place on a vehicle road between the Narita Terminal 2 and the baggage sorting satellite.
The transportation of luggage will be performed with the autonomous vehicle, TractEasy manufactured by TLD and offered by Smart Airport Systems. A safety driver will remain seated inside the vehicle for this level 3 operations.
The Terminal 2 satellite is currently closed due to the current reduced traffic. However, the actual operations are planned to start once the satellite will reopen. The Japanese Ministry of Transport has set a committee to promote the introduction of autonomous vehicle inside airports and publicly offered companies to participate to a POC. JAL has applied for this program and carried out from Oct 2019 to March 2020 this test with this autonomous vehicle.
With this introduction to real operations, towing tractors will be able to drive autonomously and transport cargo. The Japanese Ministry of Transport is also carrying some POC regarding the transportation of people and is planning to introduce of real passengers in the near future. This year on February, ANA has made some test at Haneda with autonomous large bus destined to transport employees.
The Japanese Ministry of Transport will continue to collaborate with airport authorities and airlines in order to achieve full driverless level 4 by the year 2025.
ALBATROSS is an initiative of major European aviation stakeholders who wish to demonstrate how the technical and operational innovations delivered by SESAR, (the mechanism which coordinates and concentrates all EU research and development), can further reduce the environmental footprint of aviation towards a more sustainable mode of transportation.
The project will examine how a resulting and adapted concept of operation could be permanently integrated into network operations to demonstrate the potential to minimise the environmental impact of aviation.
Smart Airport Systems is proud to have been asked to contribute to this important aviation and environmental program alongside these prominant stakeholders and wishes it every success.
Further updates to follow, but for now you can read more here –https://www.sesarju.eu/…/albatross-most-energy…
Check out the latest video from Solar Impulse Foundation showcasing our remarkable TaxiBot hybrid taxiing solution.
Click the image below to be taken to our LinkedIn site, and view the video.