From Globes: The Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) passenger jet towing vehicle, capable of handling even the largest planes in service, has successful completed a series of trials. The "taxibot" tows planes from passenger gate to the runway, rendering it unnecessary for the planes to operate their jet engines.Now if only we could have an automated cabin crew that manages to keep people in their seats till the plane fully stops...
IAI estimates the cost of the taxibot at $3 million, and the company expects to sell 1,500 taxibots to airlines by 2020.
At many airports, the passenger gates are several miles from the runways, and the drive to the runway consumes huge quantities of jet fuel. For example, a Boeing 747 consumes a ton of jet fuel every 17 minutes.
"The good news about the taxibot is that a plane's crew does not have to use the engines to taxi from the passenger gate to the end of the runway," IAI taxibot project manager Ron Brayer told "Globes". "This is no small thing nowadays. Airlines will save billions of dollars on fuel. Plane safety will improve, because when the engines are off, the risk of sucking in items on the ground is reduced. In addition, noise at airports will lessen, and there will be fewer pollution emissions. In effect, the plane's crew will only have to operate the immense jet engines for less than five minutes before takeoff."
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