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New airport tug puts the pilot in charge, reduces emissions
Our friends at Autoblog discovered a pretty neat airport tug under development by auto parts maker Ricardo. Airplane tugs are normally only used to push a plane back from its gate, or when they need to tow the plane from a hangar to the gate.
In this new tug design, the plane is clamped to the truck, and then puts the pilot in charge of driving it to the gate. In a normal taxi situation, planes keep their engines on until they reach their parking spot. Of course, anyone who has flown will know that the destination gate is almost always occupied, forcing the plane to sit and wait for up to an hour.
All this time, the engines are still running, spitting out tons of emissions. With this new design, as soon as the plane is clamped to the tug, the main engines can be turned off. The new TaxiBot could save millions of dollars in fuel costs, while reducing emissions.