Ricardo to assist IAI in development of the Wide-Body version of TaxiBot

Ricardo to assist IAI in development of the Wide-Body version of TaxiBot
10 December 2012

The original prototype of TaxiBot undergoing tests at Dunfold aerodrome

  • IAI’s TaxiBot – developed with the support of Ricardo – enables airliners to taxi under pilot control without the use of jet engines, saving fuel and reducing noise and exhaust emissions in the vicinity of airports
  • Successful tests on-going with Lufthansa at Frankfurt airport on the current, narrow body implementation of TaxiBot
  • Today’s announcement will see Ricardo supporting IAI in the development of a version of the system intended for wide-body aircraft

Today’s announcement follows demonstrations of IAI’s semi-robotic pilot controlled vehicle ‘TaxiBot’ to leading airlines in Chateauroux Airport, France. Senior representatives and test pilots of various leading airlines and ground handling companies including Lufthansa, KLM, British Airways, CEA (China Eastern Airlines), CSA (China South Airlines), Federal Express, Air France, United Airways, WestJet, Aéroport de Paris and Swissport, evaluated the TaxiBot towing system. Pilots were able to conduct, from the cockpit of an Airbus A320, a series of driving and control tests of the vehicle as part of the advanced evaluation process which various airlines are taking with respect to possible operational use of the TaxiBot system in airports around the world.

The new version of TaxiBot will be specifically targeted at applications involving wide body aircraft, where the potential for emissions reductions and fuel savings are even greater than the currently developed narrow bodied jet system.

“We are extremely pleased to have been selected by IAI to support the development of the wide body implementation of TaxiBot,” said Ricardo project director for the TaxiBot programme, Richard Gordon.  “This work will build upon the highly successful collaboration between our companies dating back to the first concept development of the system. We look forward to helping IAI create this exciting new version of its semi-robotic pilot controlled aircraft taxiing system.”

Ricardo’s involvement in the development of IAI’s TaxiBot concept dates from the very start of the engineering programme for the first demonstration vehicle in 2008. After an initial feasibility study, Ricardo developed a detailed programme for IAI to take the concept to the level of a working demonstrator vehicle with representative capability in order to prove the concept. Ricardo’s involvement in this work included initial requirements capture, conceptual design and modelling, followed by detailed specification design and the company’s engineers subsequently went on to support IAI with the manufacture and demonstration of the first TaxiBot demonstrator vehicle.

According to IAI the overall worldwide cost of aircraft taxiing is estimated to exceed $8.5 billion per year by 2020; TaxiBot based taxiing has the potential to reduce this to less than $3 billion per year with consequent reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and reduced noise in the vicinity of airport ground operations.


A full copy of this press release is available from the link at the top right of this page.