Brussels Airport and Tui fly are jointly testing a pilot-operated ‘taxibot’

Brussels Airport and Tui fly are jointly testing a pilot-operated ‘taxibot’
Brussels Airport and Tui fly are jointly testing a pilot-operated ‘taxibot’

The test with the taxibot at the Belgian airport started last week, after TUI fly pilots were the first to take a course on this. With this system, aircraft no longer have to use their engines when taxiing: the bot tows the aircraft.

Brussels Airport calls the bot in a statement “a semi-robotic truck” that is controlled by the pilot of the plane himself. “It is the only certified solution for sustainable taxiing.” The system can work with aircraft from the Boeing 737 family and the Airbus A320 family.

The airport further says: “The biodiesel taxibot drives the aircraft to its destination. The pilot remains fully under control during the procedure and controls the brakes, just like during normal taxiing.”

Less emissions
The aim is to test the truck on the taxiways of Brussels Airport over the next three months and “assess the benefits in this specific operational context.” The airport emphasizes that taxi times are relatively short, but that the taxi bot “can still have a positive impact on noise and emissions compared to taxiing on the aircraft’s engines.”

The speed of taxiing does not change, but the emissions do: the fuel consumption of the aircraft over the distance traveled on the ground is reduced by 85 percent and the noise impact is 60 percent lower.

The initiative is part of the Stargate programme, an “ambitious project” of the European Commission as part of the Green Deal for testing and developing solutions for more sustainable aviation.

Brussels Airport is project leader of Stargate and works with a consortium of 21 partners, including three European airports and several airlines.


The article is in Dutch


Tags: Brussels Airport Tui fly jointly testing pilotoperated taxibot


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