A preliminary concept of greener taxiing techniques

A greener concept of aviation taxiing operations

The AEON solution proposes a novel operational concept for more sustainable and efficient operations on the ground.

The operational concept moves from the consideration that in the future the different engine-off techniques (single-engine, autonomous taxiing solutions and non-autonomous taxiing solutions) may become robust technologies. In this future scenario, there will be the need for them to coexist in the airport environment and to be used in a coordinated way thus overcoming the specific limitations that each of them has in the operations and pursuing the overarching purpose of making ground operations more sustainable and eco-friendly. By means of a set of dedicated tools and interfaces for the different ground operators, as well as dedicated algorithms, the AEON solution aims at supporting them in sharing their constraints to decide together on the best usage of the different available taxiing techniques for each flight and then manage potential operational events that would prevent the initial plan to deliver correctly.

At the strategical phase, a support tool will help estimate the adequate number of non-autonomous taxiing techniques to operate a given airport considering its specific traffic. Then the best allocations of taxiing techniques to each arriving and departing aircraft will be provided considering the arrival and departure sequences plus the operational constraints of the tugs fleet. Then the allocations will be proposed to the different actors through the Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) portal. They will have until one hour before the Target Start-Up Approval Time (TSAT) to freeze the decision to accommodate last minute operational events.

Afterwards, for the tactical phase, AEON provides Human-Machine Interactions (HMIs) for ATC officers and pilots to manage the actual taxiing. Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS) HMIs will:

  • identify the taxiing techniques of each aircraft,
  • help define the taxi clearances, especially for towed departing aircraft that will need to stop for detaching process somewhere without disturbing the rest of traffic,
  • give real-time updates on remaining taxi time to give to the pilot in order to facilitate engines start-up procedure, and
  • help reassign non-autonomous taxiing techniques when operational events modify the initial plan.

In addition, the AEON solution considers that the aircraft using electrical engines for taxiing (or towed by electric tugs) are more easily controlled on speed, i.e., they can take speed targets and follow them. Since the common drawback to all engine off taxiing techniques is the lower acceleration level, it would be highly beneficial to avoid stop and go. AEON could thus provide speed targets to avoid aircraft arriving simultaneously on the same intersection, hence smoothing traffic control. However, this new type of ATC clearances would create additional workload and radio frequency usage, in consequence, AEON will explore the possibility to give speed cues to the pilot through datalink, to be displayed on the electronic flight bag (EFB).

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