If regular engines in high-end automobiles guzzle fuel, those figures are still dwarfed by the amount of aviation fuel planes consume. Because commercial aircraft guzzle huge amounts of fuel per second, measures to cut fuel costs have been implemented at Delhi’s IGI Airport.
According to a report in the Financial Express, Taxibots will now be used to bring flights from the parking bay to the runway, with engines switched off.
Pilot-controlled and semi-robotic, these machines will allow pilots to switch on the plane’s engines only when it reaches the runway starting point.
Photo Source: Representative image
Only departing flights will see this facility, which has brought down the amount of fuel used during taxiing, by about 85% going by the claims made by the officials at the Delhi International Airport Limited.
Here is how it will work.
A Taxibot will be driven to an aircraft stationed at the apron area, awaiting clearance for takeoff. The plane’s nose wheel will be lifted slightly by the Taxibot after attaching it.
Post this, the plane’s pilot will control the robot, taking it from Delhi’s terminal gate to the runway, without switching on the aircraft engine. To perform technical checks, the engine will turn on, only for a short while.
As of now, engines are switched on after passenger boarding finishes and remains so till the plane reaches the runway. The Taxibot can attain a maximum speed of 23 knots. The officer claimed that by using the bots, the aircraft would benefit in the following ways:-
1. Congestion at boarding gates will reduce.
2. Carbon dioxide and other noxious gases, and risk of jet blast incidents at the apron area will reduce.
3. Fuel costs will be cut, and so will noise pollution.
4. Aircraft brakes will be subject to lesser damage.
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The Taxibots have been manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, and come September, a three-month trial of Taxibots will start, in association with KSU Aviation Pvt Ltd, who will hand over the Taxibots to DIAL.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)