Indira Gandhi International Airport has become the first airport in the country to use taxibots.
Taxibots are used to tow aircraft whose engines are shut from the parking bay to the runway. These are semi-robotic vehicles, and their usage will not only curb pollution at airports but also save fuel. These vehicles will be remote-controlled by pilots till the runway point. The taxibot system aids in reduction of fuel cost, improves apron usage and reduces harmful gases.
An official of the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) said the taxibots were ready for commercial operations after lengthy trial runs, across 8 months. Almost 400 successful trials were conducted with three airlines — SpiceJet and two other domestic carriers. The trials included stakeholders like Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Air Traffic Control and various airlines.
The semi-autonomous vehicle was developed by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI). “Taxibots are a technological innovation in the aviation space. We are proud to be world’s first recipients of this technology and to commence its commercial operations. We are excited about introducing this advanced taxiing solution that is operationally efficient and environmentally friendly. Delhi Airport has won numerous awards for its sustainable and green initiatives. The commissioning of taxibots further strengthens our position in this league,” Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, DIAL CEO, said. “This converts into a potential saving of $35 million annually for domestic carriers at IGI alone.” he added.
Currently, two taxibots are operational and the number would go up to 15 in four years, an official said. Initially, these will be used by the aircraft of SpiceJet.