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Wind River Helps Pioneer Robotic Airplane-Towing Vehicle

Semi-autonomous truck eliminates massive fuel waste, pollution from jets idling on runways


Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) four years ago launched an ambitious project with aircraft builder Airbus and ground support equipment manufacturer TLD Group to address the growing problems from commercial airplanes taxiing and idling on runways, which was creating massive fuel waste and costs for the airlines, as well as generating substantial pollution from exhaust fumes.


The partnership sought to develop a new type of vehicle that could tow aircraft on runways and eliminate the need to run jet engines until ready for takeoff. The project team sought to address key functional issues that had thwarted similar efforts in the past, including how to safely and easily connect the towing vehicle to airplanes and how to provide full control of the towing vehicle to pilots.


The project team used VxWorks®, the Wind River® industry-leading real-time embedded operating system, to build the truck’s intelligent software system. Wind River Professional Services also provided its extensive engineering expertise to help accelerate DO-178B/ED-12B DAL B certification, and address design and project challenges.


With the VxWorks embedded operating system and Wind River technical and project support, the TaxiBot team obtained the necessary industry safety certifications quickly, helping the team dramatically shorten the product’s development from prototype to fully approved vehicle, and putting TaxiBot at least five years ahead of competitors.

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“For me, our ability to get the project done so quickly was a dream come true. Today we can say with confidence we are at least five years ahead of our competitors.”

—Ran Braier, TaxiBot Project Director, IAI