Updated: Nov 14, 2019
The use of AI ( Artificial Intelligence) technology in commercial aviation has brought some significant changes in the ways flights are being operated today. World’s leading airliner service providers are now using AI tools and technologies to deliver a more personalized traveling experience to their customers. From building AI-powered airport kiosks to using it for automating airline operations and security checking, AI will play even more critical roles in the aviation industry.
Engineers have found AI can help the aviation industry with machine vision, machine learing, robotics, and natural language processing.
Artificial Intelligence has been found to be highly potent and various researches have shown how the use of artificial intelligence can bring significant changes in aviation. Few airlines now use artificial intelligence for predictive analytics, pattern recognition, auto scheduling, targeted advertising, and customer feedback analysis showing promising results for better flight experience.
A recent report shows that aviation professionals are thinking to use artificial intelligence to monitor pilot voices for a hassle-free flying experience of the passengers. This technology is to bring huge changes in the world of aviation.
Identification of the Passengers
There’s no need to explain how modern inventions are contributing towards the betterment of mankind and AI can help in air transportation in numerous ways. Check-in before boarding is a vital task for an airline and they can simply take the help of artificial intelligence to do it easily, the same technology can be also used for identifying the passengers as well.
American airline company Delta Airlines took the initiative in 2017. Their online check-in via Delta mobile app and ticketing kiosks have shown promising results and nowadays you can see many airlines taking similar features to the whole new level.
The Transportation Security Administration of the United States has introduced new AI technology to identify potential threats at the John F. Kennedy, Los Angeles International Airport and Phoenix airports. Likewise, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is planning to launch America’s first biometric terminal. Once installed, “the AI technology will make the process of passenger identification fast and easy for officials. Security scanners, biometric identification”, and machine learning are some of the AI technologies that will make a number of jobs easy for us. In this way, AI helps us predict disruption in airline services.
Baggage screening is another tedious but important task that needs to be done at the airport. However, AI has simplified the process of baggage screening. The American airlines once conducted a competition on app development on artificial intelligence and Team Avatar became the winner of the competition for making an app that would allow the users to determine the size of their baggage at the airport.
Osaka Airport in Japan is planning to install the Syntech ONE 200, which is an AI technology developed to screen baggage for multiple passenger lanes. Such tools will not only automate the process of baggage screening but also help authorities detect illegal items effectively. Syntech ONE 200is compatible with the X-ray security system and it increases the probability of identification of potential threats.
AI can be used to assist customers in the airport and it can help a company reduce its operational costs and labor costs at the same time. Airlines companies are now using AI technologies to help their customers to resolve issues quickly by getting accurate information on future flights trips on their internet-enabled devices. More than 52% of airlines companies across the world have planned to install AI-based tools to improve their customer service functions in the next five years.
Artificial Intelligence can answer various common questions of the customers, assisting them for check-in requests, the status of the flight and more. Nowadays artificial intelligence is also used in air cargo for different purposes such as revenue management, safety, and maintenance and it has shown impressive results till date.
Airlines companies are planning to implement AI technology to predict potential failures of maintenance on aircraft.
Leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus is taking measures to improve the reliability of aircraft maintenance. They are using Skywise, a cloud-based data storing system. It helps the fleet to collect and record a huge amount of real-time data.
The use of AI in the predictive maintenance analytics will pave the way for a systematic approach on how and when the aircraft maintenance should be done. Nowadays you can see how top-rated airlines use artificial intelligence to make the process of maintenance easy and improve the user experience at the same time.
Pitfalls of using AI in Aviation
Despite being considered as a future of the aviation industry, AI has some pitfalls. For instance, it takes time for implementation and it cannot be used as an ideal tool for customer service. The recent incident of Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 was an eye-opener for us and it clearly represents the drawback of AI technology in the aviation sector. The Boeing 737 crashed a few minutes after it took off from the capital of Ethiopia. The failure of the MCAC system was the key reasons behind the fatal accident.
Also, AI is quite expensive; for example, if an airline company is planning to deploy a chatbot, it will have to invest more than $15,000. Thus, it would be a hard thing for small companies to invest for the same and this could create a barrier between small and big airlines in the future. As the market is becoming highly competitive, big airlines will conquer the market and the small airlines might face an existential threat due to this reason.
The use of artificial intelligence in aviation has made many tasks easy for airlines and airport authorities across the world. From identifying passengers to screening the bags and providing fast and efficient customer care solutions.
Unlike the software industry, the risks of real life harms are exponentially higher in the aviation industry. While other industries have started using this technology long back, the adoption of AI in aviation has been one of caution, and rightly so. As the aviation industry embraces the benefits of artificial intelligence and machine learning, it must also invest in putting in place checks and balances to identify, reduce and eliminate harmful consequences of AI, whether intended or otherwise. As Silicon Valley reels in ethical dilemmas, the aviation industry will do well to learn from Silicon Valley while making a transition to a smart future. The aviation industry known for its rigorous safety measures and processes may, in fact, have a thing or two to teach Silicon Valley when it comes to designing, adopting and deploying AI systems into live systems that have high-risk profiles.
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