Pfeffer said Taxibot provided the 747 with better traction on icy and
slippery surfaces. He said this was evident during turns during the
demonstration at Frankfurt International Airport.
"I wouldn't change anything at all," Pfeffer said.
TaxiBot was developed by IAI's Lahav Division and Airbus to allow
airplanes to move from the airport gate to the runway without operating
their jet engines. The taxi process, in which TaxiBot controlled the load
from the aircraft's nose-landing gear, was operated by the pilot through the
normal tiller and breaking pedals.
"Despite the severe weather conditions which prevailed during the
Frankfurt test, the demonstrator system showed excellent capabilities and
successfully maintained the defined envelope," IAI said.
Executives said this marked the second test of Taxibot, the first taking
place in Toulouse, France, with an Airbus A340-600 in 2010. They said
additional tests would take place later in 2011 on Airbus jets. Other
contractors in TaxiBot, launched in 2008, including France's TLD and
"The TaxiBot development is naturally integrated in IAI's policy
regarding new business areas such as ground robotics, and renewable energy,"
IAI president Itzhak Nissan said.
Executives said IAI and Airbus were developing a TaxiBot prototype for
narrow-body airplanes, such as the Airbus 320 and Boeing 737. They said
Taxibot was scheduled to receive certification for the first airplane during
2012. At that point, the first deliveries would begin.
"Further demonstrator tests on Airbus aircraft are scheduled for the
second quarter of 2011, to allow various operational and technical
conclusions to be reached regarding prototype development and bring the
system design to maturity prior to serial production," IAI said.