Commercial airport congestion is increasingly becoming a concern worldwide leading to capacity issues. This is a problem that must be resolved in order to progress the commercial aviation industry. Congestion is the birth child of inefficacy and causes various problems both financial and environmental.
One of the major problems with current ground operations at commercial airports is tarmac taxiing, During this time aircraft are operating the main engines for propulsion and movement around the airport, otherwise known as “engines-ON taxiing”. The fuel consumed during this operation does nothing to add to the end goal of the airline, get passengers to their destination quickly and safely. Engines-on taxiing actually adds cost and CO2 emissions without passenger experience gain. Both major airlines and regulators worldwide have expressed interest in an engines-off taxi systems.
The shorthand definition of Clean Vehicle Towing is basically “engines-OFF taxiing”. The removal of fuel consumption during the taxi portion of the flight.
It’s not a question of “if”… it’s a question of who will be first?
Automation has been integrated into various industries in some way, shape, or form. Providing efficiencies that did not exist previously; lowering cost, increasing safety, and typically providing better products for the consumers at a lower price point. All of these can be seen as good aspects to the implementation of automation, the problem is that with everything there will always be some “give and take”, a compromise in one direction or another. Automation can cause the loss of jobs, this does not sit well with the workforce especially when you are talking about industries like dock workers, food service, and commercial airports.
This brings us to the "real" problem that needs to be solved, Implementation. The technology to accomplish fully autonomous engines-off taxiing is arguably already available, the roadblock is getting approval from regulators while minimizing the impact to the workforce. You have solve the automation problem while focusing on regulation and workforce participation along the way. Everyone needs to be happy, from the local politicians surrounding each airport to the ground crews who support the airline operation.
To solve for the real challenges of integration and implementation of automated engines-off taxiing a system must be built that carefully brings the current ground operations to full automation. This solution has to be a delicate, well thought out plan that takes all elements of the equation into account. The balance of automation implementation combined with regulation is where a fine line is drawn. The workforce as a whole would prefer to never implement automation, while the airline operators, manufacturers, airports, and municipalities are all pushing for cost and emissions reduction measures. A multi-stage automated integration plan will be the “compromise” that the airlines and workforce will agree upon.
Introduction to TGOS
TGOS is short for Tekk Ground Operation System, developed by the founder of Tekk Consulting (Jason Heard) for the purpose of solving the problems with integrating solutions to problems with commercial airport ground operations; Engines-off Taxiing, Tug Automation, and Implementation.
TGOS is a 3 stage implantation system designed to bring the current airport ground operations model up to date and eventual fully autonomous operation. TGOS Integrates at different stages over the course of 10-15 years, slowly bringing the airport ground operations up to full autonomy.
Often when you bring up the idea of automation it tends to strike fear in the workforce with the reality of job loss. TGOS aims to curb that fear while creating new jobs and transforming others to work alongside automation.