In sustainable aviation the focus is mostly applied to the greenhouse gas emissions during flight. However airports have an increasing interest in reducing emissions during ground operations such as taxiing for example to improve the local air quality. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol started a pilot for sustainable taxiing with a pilot-controlled hybrid-electric aircraft towing vehicle called TaxiBot in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic created an opportunity for extensive operational testing on a near-empty airport. Due to the low background noise levels in this situation, also a noise assessment of taxiing with the TaxiBot versus conventional two-engine taxiing was performed. This assessment can be used to evaluate the noise levels to which ground workers or neighbouring communities are exposed due to TaxiBot operations.
For the noise measurements a phased microphone array was used, which allowed not only for a noise level and directionality assessment, but also for noise source identification. This paper compares the noise emissions and noise sources between a taxibotted and conventional taxiing operation. The results show that a taxibotted taxiing operation produces significantly lower noise levels. Additionally, acoustic imaging shows that the TaxiBot engine is the main noise source for a taxibotted pass-by manoeuvre.