Last night Delhi International Airport (DIAL) conducted successful trials of TaxiBot vehicles with involvement of Jet Airways and Spicejet. VT-JGC from Jet Airways and VT-SPF from Spicejet were the two aircraft involved in the trial.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and KSU Aviation Pvt. Ltd. had got into an agreement in July 2018 for operating TaxiBot vehicles in New Delhi and Mumbai. The contract involves operations on a trial basis till end of 2018 in controlled environment and the next phase will involve delivery of 38 additional vehicles in four years to both the airports and additional airports if needed.
The narrowbody TaxiBot had arrived in Delhi in the first week of September and are manufactured in France.
TaxiBot is a semi-robotic vehicle which connects to the aircraft and is controlled by the pilot to taxi the aircraft from parking stand to the runway with no use of the main engines of the aircraft. This leads to a fuel saving of upto 85% and could make a difference in current times of high fuel regime. It also increases ramp safety and prevents ingestion of foreign objects by the engines on ground, apart from improving the flow of aircraft on the apron.
The vehicles designated for New Delhi International Airport were completed at Frankfurt airport with help of Lufthansa LEOS and TLD. TaxiBot completed certification tests in July 2014 and was approved for aircraft towing in November 2014 with LH 140 from Frankfurt to Nuremburg being the first commercial dispatch. TaxiBot are in regular operations at Frankfurt Airport since February 2015.