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Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the largest government-owned defense and aerospace company in Israel, equipped its semi-autonomous airplane towing vehicle, TaxiBot, with the Wind River VxWorks® Cert Platform real-time operating system (RTOS) and Wind River Professional Services.

TaxiBot enables airplanes to taxi from the gate to the runway without using their own engines, reducing fuel consumption and costs, CO2 emissions, and noise. The technology was developed in collaboration with Airbus and TLD Group.

VxWorks Cert Platform is an RTOS for safety-critical applications that require RTCA DO-178, EUROCAE ED-12, or IEC 61508 certification evidence in avionics, transportation, industrial automation, and medical device industries. VxWorks uses a multiredundancy approach, with software at the heart of the system.

From a technology perspective, the challenge for IAI was to optimize control capabilities while achieving operational simplicity; from a certification perspective, the challenge was to achieve safety certification under avionics software standard DO-178B. IAI project director Ran Brier said that the platform met the performance demands of the TaxiBot, streamlined the certification process, and reduced licensing costs.

According to IAI, TaxiBot has the potential to save the airlines hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel costs, as well as reduce foreign-object damage to jet engines. The long-term vision for TaxiBot is to make the solution completely unmanned as soon as the market is ready and the regulatory framework is in place.

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Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2015 issue of Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine.

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