India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has granted permission for the use of semi-robotic vehicles known as taxibots that would enable to pull aircraft from the parking bay to the runway point.

The aviation watchdog believes that the use of taxibots will curb carbon dioxide emission across airports in the country, reported Press Trust of India (PTI).

At the outset, these vehicles will be deployed at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) in New Delhi. Initially, Jet Airways and SpiceJet will trial the taxibots.

The semi-robotic vehicle will be remotely controlled by the pilot.

“It would be sort of remote controlled by the pilot from the aircraft till the runway holding point and all the while the engine would remain shut.”

KSU Aviation, the operator of the vehicle, told the news agency that taxibots will be brought into commercial use by October this year.

According to a KSU spokesperson, taxibots will help in reducing carbon dioxide emission at the IGI airport. On average, 800 kg of carbon dioxide is emitted for every 15 minutes of taxing.

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With the use of a taxibot, 85% of the fuel consumed during taxing can be saved in addition to reducing noise levels by 60%. Additionally, taxibots can reduce the likelihood of engine damage from foreign objects by 50% because the engine is closed when the aircraft is being towed.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has developed semi-robotic taxibots. The IAI has signed a contract with India-based KSU Aviation for the use of these taxibots.

KSU spokesperson told PTI: “These are an alternative taxiing solution and would be used for towing only single-aisle aircraft. It would be sort of remote controlled by the pilot from the aircraft till the runway holding point and all the while the engine would remain shut, thus bringing down pollution.”

Orders for 40 taxibots have been placed. Airport operators in Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru have expressed their interest to use taxibots.