Oklahoma City-based ATS World Wide has invented an automated taxi system that could revolutionize airport operations. Their invention, which moves airplanes on and around an airport, enhances safety, reduces fuel use and solves an industry challenge that’s been around since the 1970s.
ATS World Wide developed an electric-powered dolly system designed to automatically transport aircraft at airports using an underground channel system. After landing, instead of taxing to the gate, the pilot pulls onto the towing dolly. Once the aircraft’s nose wheel is secured, the pilot can shut off the main engines and the system automatically transports planes from the runway to the gates and back.
Managed by airport tower operators, the system eliminates the need for tug vehicles to push and pull aircraft and significantly reduces the amount of time an aircraft must run their jet engines while on the ground.
While accidents during taxing or arriving or leaving the gate are rare and usually do not involve injury, they can be costly and cause disruptions to airport schedules. The ATS solution essentially eliminates the chance for accidents on the ground involving taxiing to or from the gate.
“The idea for the system was born during a casual conversation between ATS World Wide founder and polish entrepreneur Stan Malicki, and a friend who is a pilot,” said Vince Howie, CEO of ATS World Wide. “He said that from the moment of landing at the airport to taxing to the gate his plane burned more than two tons of aviation fuel. What a waste!”
Incorporated in 2016, ATS World Wide Inc. collaborated early on with Oklahoma State University’s New Product Development Center (NPDC) in the design and is now working with the NPDC and other experts constructing the innovative ATS system.
A prototype of the technology is currently being installed at the Ardmore Industrial Airpark in Oklahoma and is expected to be completed by spring 2021.
“As an aerospace business trying to take off (no pun intended), I can’t think of a better place to be than Oklahoma,” said Howie. “The lower cost of doing business, large pipeline of labor with sought after technical skills, the numerous partnership opportunities with statewide academic institutions offering aerospace engineering degrees such as the University of Oklahoma and OSU and the state’s unique Aerospace Engineer Workforce Tax Credit, and the state’s 21st Century Quality Jobs Program, are all contributing factors why we chose to launch our company here.”