Israel Aerospace Industries and Airbus aim to begin trials in Israel of the "Taxibot" pushback/towing tractor prototype next year.

The Taxibot eliminates the need for the aircraft to taxi under its own engine power after push-back. Offer Glazer from IAI's centre for innovation says that Taxibot will tow the aircraft to the runway to "save fuel and help the environment" .

Airbus and IAI signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year that covers the development phase. If the tests are successful, a tractor manufacturer will be invited to join the team. The development plan calls for an operational Taxibot system to be ready for delivery by the third quarter of 2011.

Taxibot is designed to provide the pilot with full control during taxiing using existing aircraft controls. This will enable the crew to control the aircraft in the same way as when taxiing using the engines.

IAI says that the use of the Taxibot system requires no modification to the aircraft and minimal modifications to the airport infrastructure, which will not affect existing taxiways and runways.

 © IAI

Source: Flight International