Air France to evaluate Taxibot, the robotic aircraft tractor

TaxibotWe will start to see the Taxibot on the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle airport from the second quarter of 2015. Air France, IAI and TLD will test the robotic on the Parisian airport runway tractor to tow the jumbo jets of Air France up to the runway, without requiring drivers need to run reactors.
According to the designers of the Taxibot, fuel economy could reach up to 85% of kerosene during this phase of taxiing. A substantial saving in CDG where the rolling are always endless.

Two logics face to face: the electric aircraft against the robotic tractor

Mobilize 4 Rolls-Royce Trent 900 to roll an A380 from the gate to the runway, these are hundreds of kg of kerosene burned to roll a few hundred metres. Do not use the engines of the plane seems common sense. There are 2 options: either tow the rig to the runway or allow him to roll on its own but economically more economical. Builder of airport equipment, TLD has made the choice of robotize in order a track tractor. The interest of the Taxibot, is that it is the pilot of the plane which controls the tractor and will therefore “lead” his plane at high speed (30 km/h maximum) to the vicinity of the track where he will order the posting of the tractor to finally launch its reactors and take to the air. At the moment the Taxibot is not autonomous, it requires the presence of a driver to bring the tractor to boarding gates.

The asset of the Taxibot solution, it is that it does not involve equipping the aircraft for a new specific equipment.

The asset of the Taxibot solution, it is that it does not involve equipping the aircraft for a new specific equipment.

Faced with this technical solution, Safran on the ‘electric’ aircraft, it means an aircraft which has electric motors to roll. Its technology, developed in cooperation with Honeywell, was baptized EGTS for Electric Green Taxiing System.Le system has the advantage of ease of operation as the aircraft moves by its own resources and its own existing electric generator, the APU. The volume of kerosene burned by the APU to provide energy for the electric motors is much less than that consumed by reactors during a taxi. On the other hand, the system weighs about 100 kg per unit of electric propulsion, overweight which impacted the aircraft’s performance and therefore intends it instead to the short and medium haul.
The Taxibot like the EGTS were presented at the last Salon du Bourget. For the time being, the advantage goes to the Taxibot who received her certification in early 2014 after a campaign of trial on the Frankfurt airport with Lufthansa. It will be the first full-scale test. Air France crews will then see if the robot tractor really keeps its promises in terms of fuel savings.

Translation : Bing Translator

Sources :

“TaxiBot signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Air France”, TLD GSE press release, Octobre 15, 2014

Le Taxibot de TLD accélère sa croissance”, LesEchos, September 23, 2014

“TaxiBot, le tracteur pour avions révolutionnaire conçu par TLD”, Décideur en Région, October 21, 2013

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