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'TaxiBot' Saves Energy on Airport Runways

Fuel-efficient TaxiBot will be ferrying aircraft from the gate to the runway.

A semi-autonomous, fuel-efficient TaxiBot built by Wind River will be ferrying aircraft from the gate to the runway in Israel.

Israel Aerospace Industries, the largest government-owned defense and aerospace company in Israel, partnered with Airbus and TLD Group to develop the TaxiBot, which is designed to cut down on fuel consumptions and costs, CO2 emissions, and noise. It could also reduce the chance of foreign objects damaging jet engines.

The bot is expected to cut down CO2 emissions by 85 percent compared to idling an airplane and moving under its own power before takeoff.

It was a technological challenge for several reasons, one of which was to optimize control capabilities while keeping the design and operations simple. Certification was also a challenge, as the little vhicle needed to achieve safety certification under avionics software standard DO-178 in order to be put into use. Wind River took care of most of that, from the operating system to certification. Their operating system, the VxWorks Cert Platform, provides real-time operating system services for safety-critical applications.

“Addressing our challenges started with the choice of an operating system and development partner that could not only meet the exacting performance demands of the TaxiBot, but also streamline the certification process, reduce licensing costs, and accelerate development, said Ran Braier, project director at IAI.  “We found VxWorks to be the most reliable operating system to meet our requirements; it enabled us to ensure safety using a multi-redundancy approach with software at the heart of the system. Today we can say with confidence we are at least five years ahead of our competitors.”

“Because TaxiBot was an unprecedented solution, IAI needed a partner like Wind River that was experienced and committed to helping them deliver something completely new to the industry,” said Dinyar Dastoor, vice president and general manager of operating system platforms at Wind River.

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