Commercial airport congestion is increasingly becoming a concern worldwide. In the near future, the world will see commercial airports reach issues of capacity with some airports already having 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 from financial to 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, instead adding to the cost / CO2 emissions. Both the major airlines and regulators worldwide have expressed interest in an engine-off taxi system.
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 when?
Automation has been integrated into various industries in some way, shape, or form. Providing efficiencies that did not exist prior, lowering cost, increasing safety, and typically provides 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 work force especially when you are talking about industries like dock workers, fast food restaurants, and commercial airlines.
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. You have to not only solve the automation problem but you need to focus 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 into the reality of full automation. This solution has to be a delicate, well thought out plan that takes all elements of the equation into account. The delicate balance of automation implementation combined with regulators is where a fine line is drawn. The workforce as a whole is dead set on never implementing automation, while the airlines / manufactures / airports are all pushing for cost reduction measures. We believe the balance will be in the political realm, the regulators who make the decisions on what and how to implement technologies are beholden to voters. That is why we believe that the issue with automation implementation is not the technology but regulation. 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 three major 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 eventually into 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. The goal is for a 1+1=3 result in automating commercial airport ground operations.